Magdalene - IW Detail24

October 2023
Text Grace Hung
Images Nick Kane

The new building is sited in a highly sensitive historic sening, along the boundary wall between the enclosed space of the Master's Garden and the more open space of the Fellows' Garden. lts placement extends the quadrangular arrangement of buildings and courts that developed from the monastic origins of the college site. The new building replaces cramped and poor\y equipped facilities in the adjacent Grade I Listed Pepys Building with a larger library, incorporating an archi ve facility and a picture gallery. We wanted to make the building a journey that gradually rose up towards the light. On the way up there would be rooms, galleries and places to perch with a book. At the top, there would be views out over the lawn towards the water. A regular grid of brick chimneys supports the floors and book stacks and carri es warm air up to ventilate the building. Between each set of four chimneys there is a roof lantern bringing light down into the spaces below: air rising and light falling. This regular array produces a natural hierarchy with narrow zones for circulation and wide zones for reading rooms. The materiality and form of the new library are derived both from its context and from the College's brief to make a highly durable and sustainable building. The older college buildings are of load bearing brick, with timber floors and gabled pitched roofs structures. Brick chimneys animate the skyline and stone tracery picks out the fenestration. 

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