Thames Valley University
In 1994, Thames Valley University approached Richard Rogers Partnership (RRP) to carry out a masterplan study for the improvement of the university campus and to identify a potential site for the Learning Resource Centre. A brief then evolved for a building housing books, CD-Roms, space for lap-top computers, open working areas and enclosed seminar rooms.
The building’s straightforward design provides service and storage areas in a warehouse block, with an open reading and entrance area beneath a lofty space covered by a curved roof. The ground fl oor is raised by 1.5m to provide an uninterrupted procession between new and existing campus buildings.
The building has three elements; the warehouse block, the curved roof and the surrounding landscape. The construction of each element is simple and economical. With its computer-orientated environment, the building is designed for energy efficiency. Solar control is provided by internal motorised fabric blinds and the roof design allows natural daylight to penetrate to the central aisle of the ground floor, the perimeter of levels one and two and the deck. The 40m long window, which runs the length of the building, affords views of the external pond, which collects rainwater from the curved roof and provides a soothing retreat from the pressures of study.