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22 Apr 2016

Laidlaw Library wins an RIBA Yorkshire Award

ADP’s design of the Laidlaw Library at the University of Leeds was announced as the winner of an RIBA Yorkshire Award 2016 at the prestigious awards ceremony last night. The building was recognised for its outstanding architectural and landscape design, which confidently responds to context and the environment to deliver a truly sustainable building.

The new library is the first building by the University of Leeds to address public frontage in 65 years. Flanked by listed stone churches, and close to the iconic Parkinson Building, the Laidlaw Library utilises contemporary materials and technology to respond to its historic context.

The building provides a diverse range of learning areas, organised in an ascending order from public social group spaces at ground level to individual silent study on the top floor. Our design consists of three standardised floor plates around a triangular fulcrum space. Throughout the building there are views out to the landscape beyond, bringing in natural light, which, within such a deep plan building, represents one of its greatest successes.

The library brings together a range of aspects addressing sustainability, reflected through its BREEAM Excellent rating. A low energy strategy was central to the project approach, delivered through client and design team collaboration. To optimise ventilation, daylighting and thermal performance, the design incorporates a central atria solution.

ADP’s landscape team developed a simple landscape strategy to ensure the building integrated successfully into the sensitive site, incorporating public art and social seating space, contributing to a successful civic addition to the university. A roof top garden with beehives enhances the biodiversity of the site.

Broadcaster and critic, Melvyn Bragg, has described the library as '… a most beautiful contemporary building. Glass, Portland stone, columns, space, echoes of Athens and the stamp of the 21st century.'

The RIBA judges noted that the design was 'extremely complex but rigorously executed in all manner of detail’ and commented that the building is a ‘controlled and hugely accomplished piece of architecture.’

The Laidlaw Library is also shortlisted for an RICS Yorkshire and Humber 2016 award, which will be announced on 13th May.