£28m job integrates art deco and brutalist buildings

Sheppard Robson has completed the £28m refurbishment and remodelling of the Hull University library where poet Philip Larkin worked.

The 16,000sq m project involved both of the Brynmor Jones Library’s buildings – the 1956 original art deco building and the eight-storey brutalist building that was added in the 1960s and is one of the city’s tallest buildings.

Most areas of the building were stripped back to the concrete frame and totally remodelled which made it possible to insert a four-storey central atrium improving connectivity between the two buildings.

A new main entrance was created within a new brick colonnade on the south side, connecting the library to the surrounding public realm and re-orientating it to face on to the campus’s main circulation route.

The barriers on the ground floor were pushed back to the core to create 2,500sq m of publicly accessible space, including an 80-cover cafe.

The two buildings were connected at first floor level, providing a wider variety of working spaces.

In the centre of the original art deco library, the “heritage suite” including Philip Larkin’s office and conference room were refurbished and the original light fittings in the reading room were reinstalled.