The Hive Library Worcester
Public and University library and more – all under one roof
The Hive, Britain’s first joint university and public library, offers a rich variety of resources for students and researchers. This library in Worcester, England, by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, The scheme accommodates the county archives and records office, history centre, archaeology service and multi-agency customer service centre, in addition to commercial and retail space. The Hive is additionally set to become one of the world’s most sustainable buildings with a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, and a BREEAM “Outstanding” rating.
The Hive emerged from a groundbreaking partnership development to create a fully integrated public and university library, new to the UK and highly innovative internationally. It incorporates the county archives and record office, a local history centre, the county’s archaeology service and a multi-agency customer service centre. The Hive is a cultural, learning and information centre of excellence promoting lifelong learning, engendering social inclusion and raising aspirations for the whole community, regardless of age, background, or ability. The aspiration is for the Hive to become a destination for Worcester and the wider region. The redevelopment of this area connects the city centre with the new university campus creating an accessible route from the city centre to the river.
The project team developed an innovative way of utilising parametric modelling to explore design ideas (winning first prize at the International Bentley Awards for “Innovation in Generative Design” in the process). As a result we were able to manipulate the form within the boundaries of the structural and environmental constraints, resulting in a design which takes out 250 tonnes of steel from the roof replacing it with laminated timber and saving an estimated 2 months of design work. This has saved 2000 tonnes of CO2 compared to the concrete/steel option and has transformed the character of the interior.
The copper-alloy, gold-shingled form draws inspiration from both the historic kilns of the Royal Worcester works and the undulating ridgeline of the Malvern Hills. The structure incorporates solid laminated timber roof cones, the forms of which have been generated to optimise day lighting and natural ventilation throughout the building. The central atrium is lined in ash which extends the tactile qualities of the timber roof cones down through the heart of the building. The secondary atria are lined in honeycomb panels inspired by eighteenth century Royal Worcester filigree porcelain. Water from the nearby River Severn is used to provide cooling and heating is by means of a biomass boiler using locally sourced woodchip. The Hive has achieved BREEAM Outstanding.
‘’The Partnership would like to place on record our sincere thanks to you and your team for the outstanding contribution you have all made to this landmark facility. It has been a pleasure to work with a team who have shared our ideals and objectives and produced a quality, design led solution to meeting our needs. In my long experience I have seen very few projects which could match this one for real team working and you should take great credit for setting the standards for others to follow. To finish such a complex and outstanding building on time and on budget shows that by working together our industry can achieve some really great things.’’ – Peter Parkes / Head of Property Services, Worcestershire County Council
The first fully integrated public and University library and more – all under one roof:
- Library – Housing the University and Public Library services in a fully integrated way with the amazing variety of collections being open to all. Part of the offering is a magical children’s library with spaces to get creative; a Heritage Trail to explore and a huge range of books, CDs and DVDs to enjoy.
- Explore the Past – Over 26,000 records of historic sites and buildings and 12 miles of original documents to discover. The history of Worcestershire from after the last Ice Age to the present day brought to life by photos, maps, plans and archaeological finds all supported by the latest technologies.
- Hub – The Worcestershire Hub is the first point of contact for council services across Worcestershire. The existing Worcester Customer Service Centre, based in Orchard House on Farrier Street, will relocate to the centre. Visitors will be able to get information and advice about a wide range of council services, either by speaking to one of the Hub’s friendly and experienced advisors or by using public computers and payment kiosks to manage their own enquiry. The Hub will also be working with other agencies to offer on-site surgeries for customers.
- University – Students and staff will be able to find a space that suits their study needs from group work to individual silent research. Full wireless coverage and over 250 desk-top computers are available, with experienced staff on-hand to help and advise everyone on using the extensive digital and print resources.
- Research – From PhDs to a child’s first school project the resources available in the centre will enrich and inform all levels of research activity opening up new avenues and ideas as the individual’s journey of discovery unfolds.
- Learn – Learn formally, informally, gain a new skill or just for fun. The ethos at the centre is that learning never stops and there is something for everyone whatever their age or background. WiFi, a quarter of a million books, journals, DVDs and music collections all play their part in making learning truly something for everyone.
- Meet – Situated in a convenient central location with picturesque surroundings the centre makes and ideal place to meet friends and family for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake maybe visiting the exhibitions and events that are taking place whilst there. The Business Centre will be a base to meet, network and read business publications. There are also multifunctional conference, meeting and event rooms which will be available to book.
Design & Environment:
The Hive is a building that responds to its brief and setting, and uses sustainable materials that will endure. It is accessible by all people, provides a safe environment and is welcoming to anyone who comes through the doors. To help users identify where they feel most comfortable, each area within The Hive is defined by colour, lighting and acoustics to create distinct and appropriate zones.
Innovative Design Features:
The building uses renewable energy and has exemplar recycling facilities throughout, demonstrating best practice. It has been designed to be a instructive building, educating staff, users and visitors and influencing a new generation of public buildings in Worcester and beyond.
We have sought to make the building’s form and fabric temper the internal environment, thus minimising the need for mechanical systems. Where these are required they have been specified to have a minimal environmental impact and to make maximum use of renewable resources. The building is designed to be well sealed and insulated to avoid incidental losses, and glazing and shading devices are orientated to minimise unnecessary gains.
The building makes maximum use of controlled natural light and ventilation with controls and local manual override to ensure the comfort of users throughout the building. Materials have been selected to minimise embodied energy and generation of toxins in manufacture, use and ultimate disposal. Where possible materials will be recycled and locally sourced and the design allows for the building structure and fabric to be recycled at the end of its life. Water use is minimised by the specification of water saving fittings and the recycling of grey water.
Natural Ventilation & Summertime Cooling Strategy:
- The general principle is to introduce air around the perimeter of the building through opening windows. Air makes its way towards the main atrium and other voids where it rises to roof level and is exhausted through the roof vents..
- A large below-ground duct is also provided to supply air naturally to the bottom of the main atrium space.
- The predominant wind direction is from the South-West which means that air is blown over the river and the water meadow provided as part of the landscape in front of the building. There is some degree of evaporative cooling which reduces the air-temperature of the incoming air.
- Exposed concrete soffits provide the majority of the thermal mass and these are pre-cooled by the night-time cooling strategy. In very hot weather when the natural ventilation can no longer maintain the required conditions, cool water (fed by the river cooling system) is circulated around either chilled beams or pipes embedded in the concrete slab to provide further cooling.
- The building design has been developed to make maximum use of daylight, both to provide an exemplary environment and also to reduce energy consumption. Artificial lighting typically represents around 30% of a building’s energy use, therefore good use of daylight can have a significant effect in reducing carbon emissions.
Renewable Energy Strategy, Biomass Heating and River Water Cooling:
- Biomass boilers have been used for a number of years and are well proven technology. They burn organic material and use the resultant heat in the building. Since the organic plant matter has absorbed carbon dioxide as it grows; when it is burnt it releases the same carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. Therefore as long as the energy involved in processing and transporting the fuel is relatively limited, it is considered a carbon neutral fuel.
- We have developed a strategy which uses the River Severn as a heat sink. Water is pumped from the river to the building, passed through a heat exchanger and then returned to the river at only a few degrees warmer. On the other side of the heat exchanger, water is pumped around the building and used to cool the concrete slabs; the water inside the building is kept hydraulically separate from the river water to prevent contamination and blockages.
Water Management Strategy:
- The building takes full advantage of onsite water resources in order to reduce mains water demand. The most cost-effective strategy is rainwater harvesting to serve the WC flushing and archaeological washing requirements. Neither of these requires potable water and so can be fed from harvested rainwater with minimal treatment. They also represent the greatest consumptive use within the facility and are therefore the best candidates for savings, both in terms of economics and sustainability.
Planting & Urban Ecology:
- Planting plays a pivotal role in the landscape scheme. It provides a structural framework and aids orientation as well as improving climatic conditions and providing welcome respite within a harsh urban environment. The seasonal variation of the plants throughout the year provides a constantly changing backdrop whilst the careful selection of species ensures an ecologically rich and sustainable landscape. In addition, planting is used to provide a reference to the cultural history of the site, providing a living reminder of a forgotten landscape or tradition. Planting and urban ecology are closely intertwined; working together to create a micro-ecosystem that is full of interest and delight.
- For seasonal interest and diversity of habitat, and to act as flood attenuation, two water meadows are situated along the western elevation of the new building. These have been planted with a range of native wildflower species, based on communities found locally in traditional lammas meadows. Worcestershire’s county flower, the cowslip, will be planted en masse throughout, whilst predominately summer flowering species will be planted in the southern basin and predominately spring flowering species in the northern basin, highlighting the seasonal life of a traditional water meadow.
- In all, over 4000m2 of the soft landscape are dedicated to enhancing the biodiversity of the site. These habitats are complemented by a number of innovative wildlife features to provide bird nesting, bat roosting and stag beetle hibernacula opportunities. The landscape provides for interaction between people and wildlife through proximity, interpretation and interactive features, and it is envisaged that the landscape will be as much a part of the learning resource and experience as the books and exhibits within the building.
The key environmental features of the building include:
The Hive achieved 100% of the credits available in the Management, Water, Waste and Land use & Ecology sections. The Energy Performance Certificate ‘A’ rated building achieved exemplary credits for low and zero carbon technologies, which are contributing to a 34.1% reduction in CO2 emissions, and extensive metering and BMS monitoring of water consumption.
- natural ventilation, using the roof cones as exhausts
- natural daylighting, using roof lights and internal voids
- a biomass boiler
- heat rejection to the River Severn
- rainwater recycling for WC flushing and irrigation
- efficient management by the contractor of energy, water and waste streams to minimise site environmental impacts
- use of certified timber and other materials.
- Environmental assessment – Predicted BREEAM “Excellent”
- Heating – 700kW biomass boiler, local fuel supply
- Ventilation – Primarily naturally ventilated
- Cooling – River water cooling
- Emissions – 50% reduction on Part L2 Building Regulations, 15.8kg CO2/m2/yr
- Water management – Water saving and rainwater harvesting, mains water consumption reduced by 75%.
- Materials – recycled content of the construction (by value) will be at least 22%.
- Climate impact – Building comfort conditions calculated for predicted weather conditions in the years 2020 and 2050.
- Structure – thermal mass of the concrete structure assists heating and cooling. Concrete has reduced cement content for a lower environmental impact.
- Landscape – soft landscape provides public amenity, enhances the urban ecology and adds to the buildings environmental performance.
- Contents – 12 miles of archive collections, A quarter of a million books, 800 study places, 10,000 sqm of public space
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios:
On a riverside site in Worcester city centre, this is a highly sustainable building and the first joint-use library in the UK, serving both the University of Worcester and the general public.
The project team developed an innovative way of utilising parametric modelling to explore design ideas, enabling the manipulation of form within the boundaries of the structural and environmental constraints, and resulting in a design which takes out 250 tonnes of steel from the roof replacing it with laminated timber and saving an estimated 2 months of design work. This research won first prize at the International Bentley Awards for “Innovation in Generative Design”.
The building provides an integrated academic and public library, a county archive accommodating 2600 historic documents, a local history centre and a local authority multi-agency service centre providing frontline services for local residents. The development also provides retail space and high quality public realm connecting key levels in the city centre.
The gold shingled form draws inspiration from both the historic kilns of the Royal Worcester works and the undulating ridgeline of the Malvern Hills. The structure incorporates solid laminated timber roof cones,which optimise day lighting and natural ventilation throughout the building. Water from the nearby River Severn is used to provide cooling.
The Hive has achieved BREEAM Outstanding.
Worcestershire’s award winning, £60 million library and history centre – The Hive – is a unique partnership initiative between Worcestershire County Council and the University of Worcester and is the first fully integrated and jointly-run university and local authority library.
Demco designed layouts and provided furnishings across all levels of the library including the children’s library; archives; café and library shop; shelving with integrated lighting throughout, meeting rooms, youth and shared study areas.
Described as ‘ground-breaking’ in both its concept and design, The Hive brings together a quarter of a million books, documents and archives items from both the public and University libraries under one roof. It houses one of the largest children’s libraries in the country, council services, meeting rooms, study areas a shop and a cafe.
The Hive shows the extent of Demco Interior’s full service, interior design capabilities backed by resources, systems and processes to deliver multimillion-pound shared services buildings within complex partnership structures and across multi project team groups.
“An exciting shared University and Public Library project that gave us the scope to be innovative, creative and open minded in our approach. I believe the project clearly demonstrates our capabilities in collaboratively working with partners from consultation through project design and delivery to completion, with a common aim of delivering excellence at every stage.” – Andy Parker, Sales and Marketing Director, Demco Interiors.
”It has been a joy working with Demco both through the development and installation stages. Their attention to detail regarding requirements is second to none.” – Malcolm Saxby, Galliford Try Investments.
Project name: The Hive
Location: Sawmill Walk, The Butts, Worcester, England, WR1 3PB, United Kingdom
Coordinates: 52.193822, -2.225934
Type: Library, Library Interior
Specific Use of Building: public and university library
Project Area: 10,000s qm of public space, over five floors
Project Year: 2009-2012
Construction value: £35,800,000
Completion Year: January 2012
Visit The Hive’s website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: University of Worcester and Worcestershire County Council
Architects: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios – Bath Brewery, Toll Bridge Road, Bath, BA1 7DE, United Kingdom
Interior Designer: Demco Interiors
Planning Supervisor: Arcadis AYH
Structural Engineer: Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd
M&E Engineer: Max Fordham Partnership
Landscape Consultant: Grant Associates
Contractor: Galliford Try Construction
Text Description: © Courtesy of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, The Hive, BREEAM, Demco Interiors
Images: © Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Hufton + Crow, The Hive, Demco Interiors