New University Library project

Our new library is a key part of the University’s vision and strategy for transforming the Clifton campus, which includes providing new and enhanced facilities, improvements to public spaces and creating a welcoming heart to the University for students, staff and the wider community.

Reaching a new milestone: planning application for our landmark new library is submitted

A library is at the heart of any university. It's a place where we can learn and connect with each other and with new ideas. It should be somewhere to be quiet and reflective as well as social and collaborative. We've now reached a new milestone in the process and have submitted the planning application for the new library, which will transform the heart of the Clifton campus and provide an architecturally significant new building for the city, along with improved external public spaces.

The new University library will be built on the site of the Hawthorns, at the corner of Elton Road and Woodland Road. It has been designed by a collaborative team formed by Hawkins/Brown, Schmidt Hammer Lassen and BuroHappold; organisations behind some of Europe's top education and library projects.

The new University Library will have incredible natural light and views, a rich resource of texts and special collections, excellent digital infrastructure and technology. It will be a stimulating and nurturing learning environment that will provide:

· a café and exhibition gallery space to showcase the new Centre for Cultural Collections, open to all

· a year-round programme of events open to everyone in the City and beyond

· library book and journal collections, including the Theatre Collection, one of the world's leading collections of British theatre history, and our extensive Special Collections

· new ways to engage with the City and its communities by delivering an exciting spectrum of social, cultural and academic activities in purpose-built facilities

· world class academic facilities that foster innovation in teaching, improving student attainment and new research partnerships

Plans also include a new civic square aimed at making the surrounding area safer, more attractive and accessible to all.

You can share your thoughts via the Bristol City Council website

Our Objectives and Vision for the New University Library

1. Supporting wellbeing

The latest innovations in library design theory and practice are being incorporated to ensure the new University Library best supports the well-being of our staff, students and visitors. Spaces will maximise natural light and view, to provide a sense of relaxation and support, particularly for our students who study for extended hours.

2. Inclusive and accessible

The new library space will be welcoming to all creating an environment where diversity is valued and everyone feels supported. All aspects of the building will support access for all and the design includes a ‘Changing Places’ toilet facility, designed to meet the needs of people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. This facility is one of only three in Bristol City centre.

3. Inspirational

The architecture will delight and inspire innovation and discovery. It will be a building with spaces that create opportunities for intellectual pursuit and elevated thinking. Access to the rich and unique Cultural Collections will inspire creativity and new uses and provide further opportunities to engage with the City and beyond.

4. Adaptable

The building will adapt to new ways of learning and researching, and will accommodate new technologies and services as they develop throughout the life of the building.

5. Built to last, sustainable, complementary to heritage surroundings

The new library will meet high sustainability standards with a focus on natural light, a high level of energy efficiency, a low environmental impact and will have green roof terraces. 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. 


Context: the Campus Heart Programme

In 2015-16 we co-created a bold and exciting University Strategy that encompasses a wide range of ambitions. We listened to what students and staff asked for - more space at the centre to work, to share ideas and relax with each other. In particular, our students have changed dramatically in both their numbers and diversity and its vital our spaces meet the needs of scholars drawn from different cultures across the world. Campus Heart is the name for the University’s development programme to transform the spaces and services around Tyndall Avenue - creating opportunities for staff, students, external partners (local and international) and our community - to come together to learn and study, get help and support, be social and just relax. Campus Heart is part of the way we are delivering the priorities of the University Strategy by transforming the space, and the relationships that happen in and around the buildings.


News and latest updates

Further information can be found on the New University Library Blog.

Read the latest information about this exciting project on the 
New University Library Blog.

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