Ryder Architecture completes new civic library in Newcastle
Newcastle City Library, completed in March 2009, has been widely acclaimed by the public, staff and stakeholders. As well as fulfilling all the technical requirements and providing a model for C21 library facilities incorporating three UK firsts in library service delivery, it is a civic landmark and a meeting place.
The brief to create a building to ‘delight and inspire’ has been a guiding principle. The library combines performance and beauty and was delivered on time and on budget. It is environmentally responsible, accessible, inclusive and fun – a ‘living room for the city’.
The six storey building has a four storey entrance atrium. It is highly transparent encouraging people to visit and enjoy. An observation deck with pink Arne Jacobsen Swan and Egg chairs gives visitors new views across the city. Clear wayfinding uses vibrant colour coding for different areas. The entire glazed east elevation features Kathryn Hodgkinson's artwork ‘Four Questions’, inspired by interviews with over 1,000 residents. New hard landscaping has transformed previously drab public realm into attractive terraces.
Construction materials represent the civic stature of the building, its immediate physical and cultural context and its contemporary nature. The plinth and stair cores are polished masonry block solidly grounding the building. The south facade is fully glazed curtain walling protected and animated by aluminium louvres at high level. The north and west elevations are a combination of curtain walling and metal rainscreen cladding providing a contemporary, modular facade.
Environmentally conscious solutions embrace sustainability whilst working within the budget and site constraints. The building achieves BREEAM very good.