British cultural institution remodelled as ‘most advanced in the world’
HOK have revealed their design for the redevelopment of the British Library’s Boston Spa storage site. The current campus in West Yorkshire contains many ex Ministry of Defence buildings from the Second World War along with miss-matched additions from later decades. HOK’s masterplan proposes “a more distinctive identity for the British Library at Boston Spa, incorporating a clear sense of space with strong design principles reflected in the integration and use of existing landscape.”
Up to 80 percent of the library’s total collection of books and the entirety of its newspaper archive could be held at the completed site. Preservation, storage and expansion have been taken into consideration by integrating innovative physical storage solutions and complex phasing to allow the ongoing work of the British Library to continue uninterrupted as it expands its collection by 12 linear kilometers per annum.
A statement by HOK reads: “The master plan envisions that over the next 75 years some of the world’s largest low oxygen, automated library storage and retrieval facilities will be built at the Boston Spa site, including 40 acres of high-density storage, 8 acres of conventional storage, and new office facilities.
“Once completed the Boston Spa site would be the most advanced in the world and, by 2046, the whole of the Library’s collection would be stored in facilities meeting the BS5454 archival storage standard.”
Green roofs and letter-shaped perforations to facades add to the facility's aesthetic charm.
Niki May Young