Sir Duncan Rice Library | Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Architects/ Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Size/ 15,500m2 

Cost/ € 49 M/ £ 34.5 million excl. VAT 

Competition/ 2005, 1st prize in a restricted international 


Status/ Completed, construction period 2009-2011 

Client/ University of Aberdeen 

Engineer/ Arup & Partners Ltd 

Other consultants/ Quantity Surveyors Davis Langdon 



 Sir Duncan Rice Library is designed as one large rectangular volume – a 10-storey tower standing out in the Aberdeen skyscape. Visual lightness and airiness in combination with its proportionality, materials palette and clean lines lend the building a timeless quality. 

The façade is designed to serve as a climate buffer, changing in response to specific qualities of light or images projected onto it. During the dark winter months, it will be visible as a glowing landmark. A rare books showcase takes the form of a cube set in a double-height space on the ground floor, which also functions as a reading room for the university’s special collections library. In addition, the showcase connects the public space on the ground floor with the vast stacks that lie in the basement. A large organic opening that cuts through the floors at every level creates continuous visual connections throughout the full height of the building. This atrium is the central hub of the building. In contrast to the orthogonal geometry of the exterior, the atrium’s curvilinear opening lends the interior a more organic architectural expression while also creating spaces for adjacent study areas.







6 months ago

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