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Project Details - Birmingham University Library


Project Spotlight: University of Birmingham Library


Associated Architects, Birmingham

 Project Overview

Shackerley helped Associated Architects to create contrast and impact with the façade of the new £44 million library constructed as part of the University of Birmingham’s £500 million campus development plan. The project is integral to a five-year investment programme at the University’s Edgbaston Campus.  The new library was constructed adjacent to its former incarnation, creating the centrepiece of a new ‘Green Heart’ landscaped parkland. It accommodates 62km of shelving for books and the University’s rare collections.

Design Requirements

The new University of Birmingham Library was designed as an iconic, stylish building that reflects both the forward-focused culture of the university and its rich architectural heritage.

Specification of the building’s eye-catching façade was pivotal to achieving those aims, and the SureClad® ceramic granite ventilated cladding provided depth of colour and texture to contrast with heavily glazed areas and anodised aluminium fins.

The design concept for the new library was to create a building that was ‘of its time’, ‘confident’ and ‘expressive’. The building references the geometric lines of its predecessor and creates a contemporary structure, with the natural texture and patina of the SureClad® ceramic granite complementing the landscaped surroundings of the Green Heart parkland. 

Used for the stair core areas and the rear of the tower, the ceramic granite differentiates these sections of the building from the curtain walling that wraps around the remainder of the façade. Its clean, engineered appearance enabled Associated Architects to combine varied finishes and colours, helping to break up the façade, while providing a solid contrast to the lighter areas.

Materials Used

Associated Architects specified SureClad® ceramic granite in a combination of four black and dark grey finishes, all using 1198 x 598mm large format panels to provide a total façade area of 1520m2. 600m2 was specified in a natural ‘Air’ finish with a variegated black/dark grey colourway, a further 450m2 was specified in a natural ‘Santana’ finish in dark grey, while the remainder was specified in both natural and highly polished black ‘Basilicata’ 1198 x 598mm panels.

 Each SureClad® panel was pre-fabricated by Shackerley with all SureClad® Access system fixings securely anchored to the rear of each panel ready for installation on site.