Glasgow University Library

Philip Sayer, Glasgow, 1968


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Glasgow University Library 

H de Burgh Galwey     Download Original

  • Glasgow University Library    
  • Structural double glazing to double height areas    
  • Seen from within the gateway leading to new building    
  • New library with Wellington Church    
  • Typical tower cladding: precast concrete units    
  • Cluster of Library service towers    
  • Reading area: large glazed areas make adequate environmental control challenging    
  • Issue desk and central entrance area. Circulation space is restricted here until building of phaese 2    
  • Looking across one of the voids: these voids pose a problem to the brief    
  • Main approach stair to first library level    
  • Bookstacks    
  • Enquiry desk    
  • Generously sized reading area     
  • Site plan    
  • Basement plan    
  • Entrance level plan    
  • Lower ground floor plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Second and third floor plans    
  • Typical cross section    
  • Model showing massing    
  • Site plan showing phase 2    

University library to accommodate 8,000 students, postgraduates, academics and staff. The building is designed to contain 1.5 million books for 2,000 readers

The design is being simple and adaptable, with the quality required for a controlled environment (air-conditioning, humidity control, and mechanical ventilation are installed throughout). The plan creates a space flexible enough to provide for extensions, given the growing library collection, as well as circulation, reference, and work areas.

The 1.5 million volume collection includes a manuscript section of 100,000 volumes, to be held separately from the main stores. Each of the eight floors is to have a central core area, giving open access to desk and shelf space.

These floors are planned in pairs with a central rectangular core, and fifteen bays around the sides. Beyond this area are individual study rooms, staffrooms, lifts and staircases.Visual unity is provided throughout the building by a colour scheme of black, grey and white.

The project was built in two stages. The architects went on to design and build the university museum, which is connected to the library's ground and lower ground floor levels.


  • Begun: Feb 1965
  • Completed: Sep 1968
  • Floor area: 50,780m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £3M
  • Funding: University Grants Committee
  • Tender date: Dec 1964
  • Procurement: RIBA private edition, fixed price with quantities
  • Address: Glasgow University Library, Hillhead Street, Glasgow, G12 8QE‎, United Kingdom

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