A British Library Built to Last 400 Years – Azure Magazine

Interior of Magdalene College, showing a study space below a vaulted ceiling

On October 13, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced The New Library of Cambridge University’s Magdalene College or university as the 2022 Stirling Prize winner. Thought of the most prestigious architecture award in the United Kingdom, the annual prize signifies a big laurel for designers Níall McLaughlin Architects. For a developing intended to final 4 centuries, even so, it might sum to a historical footnote.

Positioned together with Cambridge’s 17th-century Pepys Library, the 1,525-sq.-metre making replaces a cluster of cramped research spaces with an ethereal, breathable — and e-book-loaded — facility which is open to pupils 24 hrs for every working day. Framed by a brick facade, the library’s tall chimneys, gabled pitched roofs and wood-framed home windows reflect the articulation and materiality of the Tudor-period surroundings.

Exterior view of Magdalene College, with the building visible behind the branches of a tree

Behind the stately picket entrance doorways, the gentle-loaded inside unfolds in tall, airy areas and soaring picket ceilings. Past a triple-peak entrance corridor, the library’s reading through room is a tranquil centrepiece.

A view of the reading room, showing a long central table framed by bricks, bookshelves and tall vaulted ceilings

Together with the bookshelves and study spaces, the Magdalene University library also capabilities an archive and an art gallery, with the inside areas all structured about a frequent, repeating grid of brick chimneys that guidance the timber floors and deliver natural ventilation via the creating. A vital structural and visible aspect, the chimneys also assistance the vaulted lantern skylights that flood the space with pure light.

View of a second-storey reading room, showing a central table alongside a bookshelf and large window looking out over the trees.

The emphasis on organic lights and passive ventilation also ensures both reduced strength requires and a lessen embodied carbon footprint — the latter also reached many thanks to an engineered timber construction.

A view of a small second storey reading nook suspended above the triple-height entry hall

The new Magdalene School Library is an aesthetically timeless setting up of understated modernist sensibilities and contextual deference, but also a single that reflects how we believe about — or ought to feel — about architecture in 2022.

Looking up to one of the vaulted ceilings, framed in a blonde wood finish

“The light-weight-filled, warm-wooden inside lifts spirit and fosters connections,” states RIBA President Simon Allford, talking on behalf of the Stirling Prize jury. “Students have been gifted a serene sequence of related areas wherever they, and upcoming generations, will be ready to contemplate and congregate, making the most of it both of those alongside one another and aside. The overarching commitment to develop anything that will stand the exam of time can be felt in each individual content and detail, and from each viewpoint. This is the epitome of how to develop for the extended-expression.”

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