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Sir Duncan Rice Library

Aberdeen/ UK

Size/ 15,500 m²
Cost/ £ 34.5 million excl. VAT
Competition/ 2005, 1st prize in restricted international competition
Status/ Construction period 2009 – 2012
Client/ University of Aberdeen
Engineer/Arup & Partners Ltd
Quantity Surveyors/ Davis Langdon LLP
Interior design/ shldesign
Awards/ 2012, Aberdeen Civic Society Award/ 2013, RIAS Award/ 2013, RIBA National Award/ 2013, WAF, shortlisted in Civic & Community category

Sir Duncan Rice Library at the University of Aberdeen is designed as one large rectangular volume – a 10-storey tower standing out in the Aberdeen skyscape. Visual lightness and airiness in combination with its proportionality, materials palette and clean lines lend the building a timeless quality. A large organic opening that cuts through the floors at every level creates continuous visual connections throughout the full height of the building. This atrium is the central hub of the building. In contrast to the orthogonal geometry of the exterior.

The University of Aberdeen is the 5th oldest English-language university in the world. The new library serves a community of 14,000 students, containing 1,200 reading spaces alongside archives, historical collections and a rare books reading room.

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.

The façade is designed to serve as a climate buffer, changing in response to specific qualities of light or images projected onto it.

A rare books showcase takes the form of a cube set in a double-height space on the ground floor, which also functions as a reading room for the university’s special collections library.

Sir Duncan Rice Library has won the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Award 2013, as well as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) National Award 2013.

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