Magdalene College Library / Niall McLaughlin Architects
Textual content description supplied by the architects. We had been appointed to design Magdalene College’s New College Library via a contest held in 2014. The brand new constructing replaces cramped and poorly outfitted amenities within the adjoining Grade 1 Listed Pepys Constructing with a bigger library, incorporating an archive facility and an image gallery.
The brand new constructing is sited in a extremely delicate historic setting, alongside the boundary wall between the enclosed area of the Grasp’s Backyard and the extra open area of the Fellows’ Backyard. Its placement extends the quadrangular association of buildings and courts that developed from the monastic origins of the school web site.
The library is approached from Second Courtroom, via slightly doorway, and out beneath an previous Yew tree. From this shady nook, you sense the presence of the river opening out on the fringe of the garden. We needed to make the constructing a journey that progressively rose up in the direction of the sunshine. On the way in which up there could be rooms, galleries, and locations to perch with a e book. On the high, there could be views out over the garden in the direction of the water. We needed to create a wide range of methods for somebody to situate themselves relying on inclination. You may sit in a grand corridor, a small room, or tuck your self right into a tiny personal area of interest.
For us, good structure performs a wide range of experiences in opposition to underlying order in order to provide concord. The brand new library relies upon a logical latticework of interrelated parts. An everyday grid of brick chimneys helps the flooring and e book stacks and carries heat air as much as ventilate the constructing. Between every set of 4 chimneys, there’s a roof lantern bringing gentle down into the areas beneath: air rising and lightweight falling.
This common array produces a pure hierarchy with slender zones for circulation and large zones for studying rooms. The delineation of load-bearing brick vertical construction, supporting spanning engineered timber horizontal construction is used to bolster the organizational scheme. This creates an underlying sample of warp and weft that we hope may be understood intuitively by individuals utilizing the constructing.
The materiality and type of the brand new library are derived each from its context and from the College’s temporary to make a extremely sturdy and sustainable constructing. The older school buildings are of load-bearing brick, with timber flooring and gabled pitched roof buildings. Brick chimneys animate the skyline and stone tracery picks out the fenestration. We tried to make the brand new constructing from this set of architectural parts. We used timber as an alternative of stone for our window tracery, which can climate over time to develop into a silvery gray just like the stone.
We labored fastidiously with our builders to search out a wide range of bricks that may match the tapestry-like high quality of the older College buildings. On the identical time, it is a trendy constructing that employs revolutionary passive air flow methods to reduce power in use and engineered timber construction to scale back carbon embodied in its development.