nicoll russell studios
architects + interior designers

St Andrews University Library


University of St Andrews

The project involved the ‘deep’ refurbishment of the University’s main library building, constructed in the early 1970s; the busiest building on the campus. The landmark building was becoming visually and functionally dated and had also been compromised by an inappropriate later extension. The latter had created confusion for students and visitors as to the location of the main entrance and might have been more respectful to the host building..

The Client demanded a holistic rethinking of the library, which had poor way-finding, access and circulation, insufficient study and group working space and was under used by students and staff.

The design solution was underpinned by an extensive period of research and evaluation with the Client group. This included making benchmarking visits to various similar projects nationwide and ultimately providing improved facilities in a contemporary interior commensurate with current library design.

In delivering the aspirations of the project, we worked closely throughout with the users, carefully consider the design options and solutions and by adhering to the budget, achieved a value for money end product.

The result has had a transformative effect and the new facility includes carefully planned areas for group-working, an IT suite, study and social spaces, and a cafe facility, as well as more traditional areas for quiet focussed study – research and of course book stacks. Nicoll Russell Studios managed the design and technical process from inception to completion.

The project had been hugely successful and its massive increase in popularity has had a commensurate increase in footfall as a consequence.

Photography : Victoria Cormie