Bristol Uni’s new ‘brutal’ library recommended for approval despite 176 objections

It’s an… acquired taste

Plans for a huge new library in the middle of campus have been recommended for approval despite 176 objections and its “brutal” design.

Organisations such as Historic England, Bristol Grammar School and The Victorian Society have objected to the design, and insist it is out of character with the Woodland Road area.

The new “landmark” library is set to have the capacity for 2000 new study seats, 420,000 books, 70,000 journals and will have a “museum style cafe” and exhibition space.

The library will replace the Hawthorns building and is proposed to have seven storeys, plus two underground.

A mockup of the new library. Photo: University of Bristol

The plans received 142 votes in support, with The Bristol City Council development control committee reporting: “The benefits include the improvement of facilities at the university, which in turn contributes to the economy of Bristol, the delivery of a building and new public realm of outstanding design, the regeneration of a rather negative site within the conservation area, improved public transport provision and public access to the university’s theatre and special collections.”

The development control committee members also reported that, despite the design’s harm to the area, the new library’s proposed public benefits outweigh the controversial appearance.

The plans include building a “public plaza” for students and visitors. Photo: University of Bristol

Along with the library, the university plan to create a pedestrianised public plaza in front with a two-way cycle path by closing Woodland Road to traffic between Tyndall Avenue and St Michael’s Park.

The University of Bristol told The Bristol Tab that a decision on the proposal will be made by the development and control committee in a deferred meeting on the 14th October.

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