Magdalene College Library in Cambridge by Níall McLaughlin Architects is the RIBA Stirling Prize 2022 winner
On October 13, the winning project of the 26th edition of the RIBA Stirling Prize was announced: The New Library at Magdalene College in Cambridge, designed by Níall McLaughlin Architects.
The architects have designed a contemporary building that fits into the local context discreetly, while respecting the rich history that surrounds it and the natural environment, within the Magdalene College grounds, in Cambridge’s city-centre. The New Library was built near the Pepys Library, a protected building dating back to the 17th century, whose cramped spaces were no longer sufficient or suitable for the students of the famous British University. The project created by the Níall McLaughlin Architects studio offers a more efficient library with new and bright study spaces, an archive and an art gallery.
The elegant brickwork façade and the large triple-height wooden doors welcome students in an interior space bathed in natural light, organised across different levels and dominated by a warm and welcoming atmosphere thanks to the use of wood. At a construction level, the building has been designed with a load-bearing masonry structure, while almost all of the horizontal elements, including the roof, are made of engineered timber. A choice also dictated by the need to respect the constraints imposed by the historical context in which the library was built.
A new, carefully developed and stimulating space for students and researchers, designed and built to last over time by adopting environmental sustainability criteria that make it possible to reduce both the energy needs and the carbon emissions related to the construction and the life of the building. The strengths of the project, in fact, lie in the adoption of simple design strategies aimed at maximising solar lighting (such as the glazed gables of the façade) and natural ventilation (through special ventilation chimneys that rise from the roof), solutions that, as highlighted by Simon Allford, president of RIBA, contribute to making The New Library at Magdalene College "a sophisticated and generous architecture that has been built to last".
Images courtesy of RIBA and Niall McLaughlin Architects, photos by Nick Kane
Project Name: The New Library, Magdalene College
Client Magdalene College
Location: Cambridge, UK
Architect: Niall McLaughlin Architects
Awards RIBA East Award 2022, RIBA National Award 2022 and RIBA Stirling Prize winner 2022 Photos: Nick Kane
Structural Engineers: Smith & Wallwork
Project Management: Savills
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant: Gleeds
Acoustic Engineers: Max Fordham
Environmental / M&E Engineers: Max Fordham
Building Control: MLM