New Library Reaches Final Chapter

The New Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge has been handed over, fulfilling the central vison of the College’s Future Foundations Campaign, by providing modern teaching and study spaces, an archive centre and an art gallery, for future generations of students, staff and visitors. The contemporary three-storey low-energy building, designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects, is located […]

The New Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge has been handed over, fulfilling the central vison of the College’s Future Foundations Campaign, by providing modern teaching and study spaces, an archive centre and an art gallery, for future generations of students, staff and visitors.

The contemporary three-storey low-energy building, designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects, is located on the edge of the Fellows’ Garden, and echoes the gabled form of the surrounding College estate, including the adjacent Grade I listed Pepys Library.

Our project team worked to exacting standards throughout the build process, which included a bespoke blend of hand-made facing bricks with L-shaped structural piers supporting spruce glulam beams and exposed cross laminated timber floor slabs. The roof is constructed with twelve glazed lanterns, each formed with exposed engineered intersecting timbers covered with standing seam zinc cladding. The structural pattern incorporates eleven chimneys, of complex brick detailing, which promote natural ventilation. Carefully considered windows, set within projecting Oak bays, ensure an even level of light internally, whilst privacy of the Master’s Garden is maintained externally.

A highly collaborative approach with the consultant team has proved fundamental to the success of the complex Design and Build project, initially procured through a two-stage tender procedure.

The New Library has already caught the eye of the architectural pundits, being nominated by the Sunday Times as one of the ten coolest buildings to “gawp” at this year.

Niall McLaughlin, Principal Architect, also commented: “The Library project, despite its simple appearance is a very challenging build. It combines a wholly load-bearing brickwork structure with CLT, precast and oak joinery elements in a highly integrated arrangement. It requires real intelligence for a builder to fully understand the programming of site activities and sequences. It also calls for high levels of craftmanship. I am delighted to say that Cocksedge have lived up to all our expectations.”

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