The Women’s Library
Environmental services are integral to this library’s form and function. According to the engineers, ARUP, the building was the first passively controlled archive to meet the statutory standard (BS5454) within a city centre.

Strategies include: (1) the building structure was pulled away from the adjoining foundations to reduce excavation; (2) a light-well which funnels light into a dramatic space below and minimises damage to exhibits; (3) louvres, which can be opened to allow cool air to be drawn in at night; (4) the rough finish of the exhibition walls to attract pollutants; (5) perforated steel shutters which act as security grilles and can be used to moderate the light needed for sensitive exhibitions; (6) where the humidity (pursuant to the ’wet’ construction) was brought under control; (7) basement archives specially designed to protect the collection against flooding; (8) windows with excellent sky-to-floor ratios in the reading room, maximising daylight; (9); open access books and microfiche stored in the deeper part of the plan; (10) and rooflights which allow natural ventilation and the play of sunlight in staff offices.

Having put so much thought into library’s environmental impact, we were delighted when the library won the 2002 Liveable City Sustainability Award.

View project here