Penoyre Prasad’s University of Kent Templeman Library

The University of Kent’s Templeman Library has finally completed its amazing transformation. Headed by architectural firm Penoyre Prasad, the extensive two-phase expansion and refurbishment project has reimagined the library as a contemporary learning centre, while maintaining its importance as a central campus structure.

A multi award-winning project, the library extension has earned its designers the Concrete Society Award, as well as the Graphisoft ARCHICAD BIM “Public Sector Project of the Year” Award.

Penoyre Prasad's University of Kent Templeman Library
Penoyre Prasad’s University of Kent Templeman Library

Penoyre Prasad’s Vision for the New Library

The original Templeman Library, a Brutalist colossus designed by Lord Holford, was built in the 1960s and 1970s. An extension built in the 1980s added to the library’s functionality, but the growing Canterbury campus—combined with the ever-changing needs of modern students—meant that the fifty-year-old library was no longer able to meet the needs of staff and students.

Among the problems plaguing the old library were inadequate glazing and insulation, poor traffic flow, and a lack of connectivity between the building and surrounding structures. The University had a number of additional needs for the extension, including larger spaces, theatres, and workshops, as well as private study areas for students.

Penoyre & Prasad, proposed changes to the library that would “reveal its hidden strengths”

In 2008, the University created its “A Vision for the Future” document, in which it detailed how the Templeman Library could be modernised with a dedicated program of expansion and refurbishment. The intent, to create a 21st-century library, a modern structure capable of meeting the diverse needs of students and staff for decades to come.

Once funding was approved for the project, a national design competition was held in 2011 and 2012. The winners, Penoyre Prasad, proposed changes to the library that would “reveal its hidden strengths”, in three major ways:

  • By removing sections of floor in the main library area, to create a larger, light-filled central space.
  • By replacing existing glazing with curtain walling, to help create a sense of unity between the old building and the new extension.
  • By adding custom-fitted furniture, and flexible mobile pieces, to allow library users to access the library’s facilities more easily.

A New Extension Solves a Myriad of Problems

With so many areas on which to focus, Penoyre Prasad decided to consult extensively with both staff and students, to ensure that the new extension could meet all of these needs. ARCHICAD and BIM were both vital to this process.

According to Ana Matic, associate partner at Penoyre Prasad “We consulted with a diverse client group throughout the project, who had different views and expectations. It really helped to be able to show the client our designs in 3D, as well as visuals and interior rendering. At this stage, both ARCHICAD and BIMx were invaluable as briefing tools.”

Another important facet of the construction was that the new extension was designed to connect with the existing library. However, because the library would need to be open and accessible throughout the duration of the project, the work had to be managed carefully to ensure that access points could remain open and safe for use.

How the Right Software Helped Make it Work

As always, ARCHICAD and BIM have both been instrumental in developing plans for the construction and refurbishment, and in seeing the project through to its completion.

Penoyre Prasad - ARCHICAD Virtual Building Model
Penoyre Prasad – ARCHICAD Virtual Building Model of Kent Templeman Library

In the earliest stages, Penoyre Prasad used the software to share material and interior design options with the client—making it quick and easy to render interior and exterior designs in-house, and then use portable digital equipment to show these to the client. Undoubtedly of more interest to staff and students, a BIMx model enabled them to explore the extension using virtual reality, before construction had even begun.

Ana Matic says, “It was very useful to help the client to visualise the spaces, especially the junctions between the old and new buildings. Architects can see what a space will look like in their heads – BIMx helps us to share this vision with our clients.”

In the later stages, the software was again useful for interior design purposes. The BIMx model was instrumental, not just for visualising architectural features, but also for helping the client make decisions on internal design options such as furniture and lighting. The firm even used a combination of PhotoShop and Graphisoft software to create interior designs.

The entire project used Graphisoft’s Teamwork from start to finish, with up to 10 staff members collaborating on the project at once, during the busiest moments. The Templeman Library was the firm’s first ARCHICAD-based project, and there’s no doubt that it’s been a highly successful one. Ana Matic notes that the use of BIM helped the design team push further with their designs, with a great degree of confidence. In fact, the project was so successful, Penoyre Prasad now uses it internally for best-practice demonstrations in various aspects of the software usage.

Penoyre Prasad’s University of Kent Templeman Library. A Multi-Use, Multi-Media Flagship Learning Centre

The Result: A Multi-Use, Multi-Media Flagship Learning Centre

The completed project has completely transformed the Templeman Library, a major success in terms of its award-winning design, and in terms of its positive impact on the campus community. The extension includes an open-access teaching floor with eight seminar rooms, a 250-seat lecture theatre, conference and resource rooms, temperature and moisture-controlled archives, exhibition space, study areas, and a café.

John Sotillo, the University of Kent’s Director of Information Services states “The Templeman Library was the most impressive building on campus when the University was established in the 1960s, and it is fitting that as the University celebrates its 50th anniversary we should have transformed it. The 21st century updated and refreshed Templeman Library has moved very significantly with the times to become an impressive modern building containing services and facilities that are equally modern, impressive and important to its current and prospective users.”

In addition, the extension has restored the library into the central University hub it once was, by opening up pedestrian connections through the original library and the new construction. The new-look library is a thoroughly contemporary space, rich in resources that both students can staff can easily access and engage with.