The University of Aberdeen is the fifth oldest English-language university in the world. It was established in 1495 and it houses over a quarter of a million books and manuscripts. The new library serves a community of 14,000 students. The 15,500 square metres of floor-space accommodates 1,200 reading spaces alongside archives, historical collections and a rare books reading room.
A new public square is an integral part of the design, linking the University and the city and forming the west end of an east-west axis across the University campus. The Academic Square will generate a sense of cohesion between the University and the surrounding community.
The library will be positioned on a base of Scottish stone, and it is designed to be welcoming. The ground floor with lounge and café areas will host regular exhibitions, seminars and poetry readings. The atrium’s vast spiralling volume connects all eight storeys, and with its sweeping contours and organic form, this space contrasts with the clean cut exterior profile.
The building is designed to minimise long term running costs and energy use. Consisting of an irregular pattern of insulated panels and high performance glazing, the façade will shimmer during the day and glow softly at night, creating a luminous landmark for Aberdeen. Aberdeen University New Library will be both a meeting place and a cultural centre for the University and the wider Aberdeen community.