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The Hawthorns will be replaced with the new library

Bristol unveils plans for flagship £80 million library

A new library development is to be built at the heart of the University of Bristol's Clifton campus

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | December 13, 2017 | Bricks & mortar

As part of the University’s wider plans to remodel its precinct around Tyndall Avenue, the new library will replace The Hawthorns – a former hotel which currently houses some student accommodation, catering facilities and various offices.

Over 1,400 staff and students reviewed and voted on the five top design concepts as part of the selection process. Both this open vote and the University’s expert panel chose the modern design put forward by British architecture studio Hawkins\Brown, Danish practice Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and engineers Buro Happold.

Their proposal is for a landmark building that integrates with the local built environment, capitalises on the location and views, and extends the landscaping from Royal Fort Garden throughout the whole precinct.

Although the design plans are in their infancy, it is our ambition to work in partnership with the design team to deliver a welcoming building with incredible natural light and views, a rich resource of texts and special collections, excellent digital infrastructure and technology, and a stimulating and nurturing learning environment

While the winning concept now requires more detailed development and consultation, there is an ambition to include exhibition spaces, reading rooms and a café for students, staff and the public to enjoy.

The new library will also include a cultural collections centre to give access to the University’s world-class collections of historic books, archives and the Theatre Collection.

 “The new state-of-the-art library will be an integral part of the academic experience of so many of our students and staff – especially, but not exclusively, in the humanities and social sciences,” said Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol.

“Although the design plans are in their infancy, it is our ambition to work in partnership with the design team to deliver a welcoming building with incredible natural light and views, a rich resource of texts and special collections, excellent digital infrastructure and technology, and a stimulating and nurturing learning environment.”

It’s anticipated that a full public consultation on the more developed design will begin in Spring 2018 before a planning application is submitted to Bristol City Council.

The University announced plans to remodel the Clifton campus, alongside the creation of a new £300 million campus by Bristol Temple Meads railway station, when its new strategy was launched last year.  

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