New front of house area for Anglia Ruskin

Published: 6 February 2008 at 10:01

Students to benefit from revitalised and reconfigured library facility.

A new front-of-house entrance area within the University Library at Chelmsford has been officially opened by the Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Nicolette Chambers, and Anglia Ruskin’s VC, Professor Michael Thorne. This development is Phase one of a larger project to revitalise and reconfigure the whole of the University Library at Chelmsford for the benefit of the University’s 26,000 students.

Talking about the success of the project, Professor Thorne explained:

“The aim in redeveloping the space was to create a modern, stylish area that invites students and staff to enter the Library space without making a conscious effort to do so.  By opening up the entrance, we have made our services more transparent, attractive and accessible to all.”

Having reviewed how other academic libraries are redesigning traditional library spaces the University Librarian, Nicky Kershaw, had a clear vision of the improvements and the design features necessary to ensure that the University achieved this aim.

The Curious Architecture Group were awarded the contract to provide design expertise and with various building specialists making up the design team. The Curious Group is known for its striking interior design projects, notably the Saltire Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University, and the University has benefited from this insight and experience in producing such an innovative design for what was previously a very outdated, cramped entrance area.

The library entrance is now clearly visible from co-located areas and lighting and colour are important elements in drawing customers towards the space.  The lighting has been much improved by using a variety of inset luminaries and down-lighting to create a warm ambience similar to those used in prestigious businesses.

A number of differently configured seating areas provide opportunities to meet and work with friends or simply check e-mail. The space had previously been very draughty so it was important to improve the heating and ventilation to ensure staff and student comfort levels. The design team paid great attention to detail in providing either bespoke seating or in selecting specialist furniture suppliers to create the right effect for the space.

The Reception Desk is the main focal point to any library entrance area and the unique design, quality finishes and striking lighting of the new desk provide a very sleek, professional welcome to visitors.   

Anglia Ruskin University Librarian, Nicky Kershaw added:

“We took the opportunity to utilize the latest technology in adding to the functionality of the building including, a thermal image people counter, modern security panels, improved cctv and the latest (3M) self service facilities. The overall design signals to our customers that we want them to use the facilities on offer and this is just the starting point.  We all know that libraries can be intimidating places, especially to those new to academic life, and we are confident that the changes we have made will make our library more accessible and welcoming.”