NEWS: Architects Journal – “Coffey wins go-ahead for oval rooftop reading room at City University”

This article was originally published on Architects Journal on 25/06/2019.

Islington Council has approved plans by Coffey Architects for a rooftop extension to the library at City, University of London

Won following an OJEU process last year, the 2,298m² scheme will add a new seventh-floor elliptical reading room to the building in Northampton Square, built in 1970 to designs by Sheppard Robson (then Richard Sheppard, Robson & Partners).

The 45m x 17m oval addition, budgeted at around £7 million, will ‘float’ above a renovated column-free library space and feature a central rooflight and a glulam timber diagrid façade.

According to the practice, the glulam structure was chosen due to its ‘light-weight, sustainability and prefabrication benefits’ and draws ‘on the materiality of the impressive, mature trees within the Northampton Square gardens’.

Aiming for a BREEAM Outstanding rating, the wider scheme also includes the strip-out and refurbishment of the existing sixth floor, which will be reconfigured to house extra student study areas, staff offices and associated facilities.

Director Phil Coffey said: ’This is a uniquely expressive project, which will give the university and its students a study space they deserve. While bold, the proposals are sensitive to the immediate context, with a focus on bringing in light, geometry and a warm materiality.’

Due to start on site this autumn, the project is one of the practice’s first in the higher education sector.

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