British Library Masterplan, Boston Spa, Architecture, Building, Architect, Design

British Library Boston Spa Masterplan

Building Development by HOK in West Yorkshire, northern England, UK: Information + Images

19 Jan 2009

British Library Boston Spa Masterplan by HOK

HOK master plan offers vision for British Library collection

Design: HOK

HOK has released the first images of their 90 year masterplan for the British Library’s site at Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, designed to safeguard the UK’s intellectual heritage for centuries to come.

British Library Masterplan British Library Boston Spa Masterplan

While the flagship site at St. Pancras is the gateway to the British Library, much of the Library’s collection is currently stored in a number of sites across London and at the Library’s document delivery operation at Boston Spa.

HOK’s master plan envisions how the British Library could bring together eighty percent of its entire collection and the whole of its hard copy newspaper collection at the Boston Spa site. The remainder of the collection – including maps, manuscripts, sound recordings, early printed books and special collections – would continue to be held at St Pancras.

Originally a Ministry of Defence ordnance factory, many of the buildings currently used at Boston Spa were built during the Second World War. Subsequent buildings have been added over the decades resulting in a complex space lacking the clear sense of identity appropriate to this cultural beacon. 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.

In order to preserve the print and digital materials currently held in the collection and provide for the increasing size of the stock, which grows by 12 linear km per annum, HOK’s master plan design for innovative physical storage solutions and complex phasing to allow the ongoing work of the British Library to continue uninterrupted.

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.

HOK Director Andrew Barraclough said “We’ve taken inspiration from a number of similar projects around the world including the National Archives II in the USA, the National Archives in Paris and the University of California when working on the masterplan design for the British Library at Boston Spa.

British Library Yorkshire Masterplan Boston Spa Masterplan

“Our goal was to create a site for the British Library that will provide a plan for future flexibility within a framework where future buildings of differing sizes and floor plates can be added without compromise to the integrity of our vision. We have taken inspiration from and celebrated the surrounding rural setting, and within this have sought to provide sustainable, state-of-the-art buildings that will meet the British Library’s needs for years to come.

Sustainability, in the context of the wider environment, was a key consideration and we have proposed a diverse range of measures to deliver a world class storage and archive facility. The first phase of implementation will be the planned construction of the Newspaper storage building to allow the transfer of the collection from Colindale in 2012.”

The British Library’s Director of Finance & Corporate Services, Steve Morris, said: “We commissioned HOK to provide a long-term plan for the development of the Boston Spa site and the British Library Board recently gave its full backing to the masterplan’s overall recommendations. We have been at Boston Spa for more than forty years and HOK’s long-term vision for the site outlines our commitment to the site for twice that period again – it will help shape an invaluable legacy for future generations.”

HOK is working in partnership with Faber Maunsell and DTZ to deliver the project.

British Library Boston Spa Masterplan images / information from HOK Architects Jan 2009

British Library Boston Spa design : HOK

Phone: 01937 546000

Location: Boston Spa, Wetherby LS23 7BQ, England, UK

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