Planning application for new library by Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Hawkins\Brown and BuroHappold


The University of Bristol has submitted a planning application for its landmark new library, which will transform the heart of its Clifton campus and provide an architecturally significant new building for the city, along with improved external public spaces. The flagship building, on the corner of Elton Road and Woodland Road, has been designed by a collaborative team formed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Hawkins\Brown and BuroHappold.

The building will accommodate learning and research space, with capacity for around 2,000 new study seats, approximately 420,000 books and 70,000 journals and new study spaces. There will be exhibition galleries open to the public, an events space, a programme of activities, new public art and a café, all of which will be open to the whole community. The new library will replace The Hawthorns – a former hotel which currently houses some student accommodation, catering facilities and various offices.

While modern in design, the library will be built in natural stone to be in keeping with the historic nature of listed buildings nearby. It features a stepped design to integrate with the local built environment. It will meet high sustainability standards, with a focus on natural light, a high level of energy efficiency, a low environmental impact, and green roof terraces. Plans also include a new civic square, with proposed new road layouts to improve traffic flow and public transport, enhance the pedestrian and cycling routes and make the whole area safer and accessible for everyone.

Following a public consultation last October, a number of changes have been made to the building and road layout ahead of the planning application being submitted. The scale of the building above ground has been reduced by the inclusion of a basement level and the entrance has been redesigned.Bristol City Council is expected to make a decision on the planning application in late Spring, when the University will be able to give more information on an anticipated timeline. Souce and images Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen.

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