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Bristol Post
Bristol Post
Kate Wilson

Plans for landmark university library in Clifton take a step forward

Bristol University has submitted a planning application for its news flagship library in Clifton.

The building would replace The Hawthorns – a former hotel on the corner of Woodland Road - currently used as student accommodation, catering facilities and offices.

Plans have now been submitted to Bristol City Council and include a new civic square with proposed new road layouts to improve traffic flow. It will also enhance the pedestrian and cycling routes and make the whole area safer and accessible for everyone, the university says.

The university has said the library - which will be home to hundreds of thousands of books and journals including the university’s special collections and theatre collection - will act as a gateway to the main campus.

The plans also include an exhibition space, gallery and café which would be open to the public.

It 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.

New university library, view from Royal Fort Gardens looking north (Hawkins\\Brown & Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects)

Following a public consultation last October, a number of changes have been made to the scale of the building which has seen the height reduced as well as some of the road layout proposals.

Professor Judith Squires, deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at the University of Bristol, said: “We are grateful to everyone for the feedback they gave as part of the consultation in October.

“Their comments have helped shape our latest plans for the creation of a world-class new University Library.

6 steps to a planning process application

“It will not only provide an outstanding new space for our students and staff to research and learn but provides a unique opportunity for the university to create a new cultural space for all the citizens of Bristol to enjoy.

“The ground floor will be open to all and will be home to a new Cultural Collections Centre as well as a cafe, gallery and event spaces to host talks and exhibitions.

“We are also planning to enhance the public realm around the new University Library, turning a congested road junction into a calm and welcoming civic space, making the roads safer and creating new accessible public space for everyone to enjoy.”

New university library, view from Elton Road (Hawkins\\Brown & Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects)

The building has been designed by British architecture studio HawkinsBrown, Danish practice Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and engineers Buro Happold.

Dr Mike Entwisle, partner and global education sector lead for BuroHappold Engineering, said: “Central to our engineering response was the University’s requirement to achieve a truly sustainable building, promoting health and wellbeing, while meeting their ambition of moving towards a zero-carbon future.

“Floor to ceiling windows and an atrium at the heart of the space maximises natural daylight and views to the study spaces, promoting social connectivity.

“Suspended ceilings have been omitted in order to expose the elegant structure and utilise the thermal mass of the concrete frame to provide climate change resilience.”

It is expected that the planning application will be determined in the spring this year.

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