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The Kings School Library

The Kings School Library

Special Award: Small Project Winner 2007

Location: Worchester
Building Owner: The Kings School
Architect: Associated Architects
Builder/Main Contractor: Spicers
Structural Engineers: Shires Consulting
Joinery: Opus Magnum & Spicers
Wood Supplier: Spa Laminates
Wood Species: Ice Birch Veneer & Plywood (Finland)

An existing Victorian structure with a tranquil outlook west over the River Severn, forms the basis for this new School library on two levels, linked by a book-lined lightwell.

All furniture and panelling is in richly figured ice birch over-veneered Finnish birch plywood. The light colour of the timber maximises natural lighting and is used throughout the interiors for wall and ceiling panelling, louver fittings, and for the bespoke furniture designed by the architect.  This includes reading desks with light box illumination and IT facilities and as an unusual bookshelf system.

The shelves are made in cantilevered 12mm ply without uprights, to give a floating horizontal emphasis enhancing the feeling of spaciousness, This also allows the library stock to run on continuous shelves without the usual interruptions. The stair bookcase is vertically cantilevered 4.5m with laminated ply posts.

Shelf heights are adjustable in 90mm increments on horizontal ply battens which form a striking feature of the interior. Moveable bookends slot into this matrix, as 90 x 90mm ply blocks, intended to receive library classification references to removable lettering. The free form librarian’s desk forms a focal point overlooking the lightwell, built up from horizontally laminated ply without the need for any curved performing.

All internal air grilles are made in the same ice birch ply, reinforcing the strong emphasis placed on environmental responsibility.

The City of Worcester Award assessors cited “a refreshing and confident remodelling and extension of a Victorian building…flooded with natural light, full of innovative features and yet modest in its external impact on the surroundings.