<span>Magdalene</span><span>College</span><span>
New</span><span>Library,</span><span>Cambridge</span>

Magdalene College New Library, Cambridge

Magdalene College, New Library, Cambridge

The new three-storey building for Magdalene College in Cambridge replaces the college’s current library facilities, and contains an archive facility and picture gallery.

Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the New Library is a purpose-built space inside of the college for Magdalene students to meet, work, relax and find inspiration.

The site is set within the historic fellows’ garden in the college grounds. Due to its proximity to a number of listed buildings as well as a number of significant trees on the site amongst which the building has been carefully nestled, a sensitive solution was required.

Working alongside Niall McLaughlin Architects, we provided M&E Engineering and Acoustics for this project.

"While the exterior elevations reflect the gabled brick buildings near by, the interior embraces cross-laminated timber and hardwood to create a welcoming yet modern environment for serious study, and is lit by carefully considered windows that ensure an even level of light but preserve the privacy of the Master’s Garden." - The Times

The building form was strongly driven by a desire for natural light, and to provide controlled natural ventilation via louvres and high-level openings in the chimneys. These allow for spaces to be well lit and comfortable without needing additional energy for artificial lighting and fans. The passive archive in the centre of the library is designed not to rely on energy intensive climate control systems. Dynamic modelling of the building physics meant the large, glazed areas and natural ventilation system could be simulated to ensure the building would not overheat in hot weather. The lifecycle impact of the building was also carefully considered, with the majority of the building built in timber and reusable brick and lime mortar.

Due to the sensitivities and constraints of the site, a bespoke approach to the planning requirements was agreed with the local authority. Instead of 10% on-site renewables, the approach looked to minimise the carbon emissions of the development.

"The new College Library [...] will support our vision to combine an outstanding heritage from the past with an ambitious and forward-looking ethos in support of academic excellence today." - Magdalene College

Architect

Niall McLaughlin Architects

Value

Undisclosed

Completion

2020

Client

Magdalene College Cambridge

Nick Kane Info
The natural ventilation chimneys are a prominent feature of the building ensuring good natural ventilation during he summer by means of the stack effect.
Nick Kane Info
An external lighting scheme has been carefully designed to accentuate the building's features while avoiding excessive light spill to the surrounding gardens.
Nick Kane Info
The internal spaces are well lit from the roof glazing, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Our acoustic solution includes bespoke timber slat acoustic absorption.
Nick Kane Info
Light fittings have been sensitively integrated into the striking architecture. Bookshelf lighting and desk lamps provide light where it is needed most, with pendant fittings and ceiling up-lights providing background illumination.

Image: Nick Kane

Architect

Niall McLaughlin Architects

Value

Undisclosed

Completion

2020

Client

Magdalene College Cambridge

2022 RIBA National Award

2022 RIBA National Award

2022 RIBA East Award

2022 RIBA East Award

2022 Civic Trust Award - National Winner

2022 Civic Trust Award - National Winner

2022 Cambridge Design & Construction Awards - Craftsmanship Award, Joint Winner

2022 Cambridge Design & Construction Awards - Craftsmanship Award, Joint Winner

2022 Cambridge Design & Construction Awards - Special Awards, Craftsmanship, Winner

2022 Cambridge Design & Construction Awards - Special Awards, Craftsmanship, Winner

See all awards