WAN Awards 2015


WAN Mobile
WAN Mobile
Previous Next

Sir Duncan Rice Library, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Wednesday 26 Sep 2012

Royal opening for Aberdeen Library

Images: schmidt hammer lassen 
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 0

Add comments | More comments

Be the first to comment


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opens shl's Sir Duncan Rice Library 

On Monday, schmidt hammer lassen architects’ new library building for the University of Aberdeen in Scotland was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who officially named the facility the Sir Duncan Rice Library after the institution’s former Principal and Vice Chancellor. The 15,500 sq m library is a modern replacement for the Queen Mother Library which was completed in 1965, and has been in operation since September 2011.

The Sir Duncan Rice Library is a brave contemporary design whose external façade is defined by a series of insulated panels and high performance glazing which form an abstract pattern across its exterior. Since opening last year, the university has seen a vast increase in the number of students using its library facilities with over 700,000 visitors recorded in the last twelve months.

University Librarian and Director for Special Collections and Museums at the University of Aberdeen, Chris Banks is delighted with this progress: “The building is a bold and affirmative statement from the University. It says ‘We mean business’ and it also says ‘You are welcome here’. I love the way in which academics demonstrate their pride in the building: by bringing colleagues from other universities into it and also by bringing along members of their own families.

“I’m also delighted that the building has attracted so many more students to use the library and the way in which it provides for both social and formal meeting spaces. It has, for the first time, allowed us to truly showcase our very significant special collections.”

One can clearly see the Danish design aesthetic from schmidt hammer lassen from the sleek, spiralling atrium which links all eight floors of the library through an open void. The visual connection is designed as a ‘dynamic vortex’ which ‘contrasts the clean cut exterior profile’. As with all schmidt hammer lassen designs, sustainability plays a key role with the Sir Duncan Rice Library achieving the classification of BREEAM Excellent.

Morten Schmidt, Founding Partner of schmidt hammer lassen architects says: “The University to Aberdeen New Library functions as a meeting place and a cultural centre for the students of the University as well as the Aberdeen community. The façade of the building shimmers during the day and glows softly at night, creating a luminous landmark - a beacon - for the city of Aberdeen.”

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
schmidt hammer lassen architects

More projects by this architect

Halifax Central Library

Christchurch New Central Library

Island School

Ningbo New Library

Vendsyssel Theatre and Experience Centre

Shanghai West Bund Biennial Pavilions

Urban Mountain

Green Valley

Ny Anstalt

International Criminal Court

Helsingborg Hospital

Cathedral of Northern Lights

New Cultural Centre and Library

IBC Innovation Factory

Aalborg University Hospital

Warsaw Office Tower

Campus Aarhus N, VIA University College

City of Westminster College

Halifax Central Library

Brørup Sparekasse

National Centre for Health and Wellbeing at the Australian Catholic University

University of Aberdeen New Library

Kolding Hospital


International Criminal Court, ICC

Hörsaalzentrum RWTH

Thor Heyerdahl College


University of Aberdeen New Library

Thor Heyerdahl School of Advanced and Further Education

Hörsaalzentrum Auditorium complex

District Court

Creative Industries Quarter

Urban Mediaspace

Horsens master plan

Holbaek Harbour masterplan

Birkerød Sports and Leisure Centre

Holbaek Harbour masterplan

Straume mixed-use development

Tian Yi Town district


Amazon Court

The Royal Library

ARoS - Aarhus Kunstmuseum

Performers' House


Click here to view the NEWS IN PICTURES tablet site