Edward Boyle Library

The University of Leeds

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Project Value:






Grade II Listed

M&E system overhaul

Post graduate research and study

Improved signage and wayfinding


Comprehensive preparation

In 2014, we were appointed by the University of Leeds to undertake a complete refurbishment of the Grade II listed Edward Boyle Library. The building is a modernist concrete structure designed by Chamberlin Powell and Bon in 1975. At the start of the project we spoke with the remaining surviving partner of the firm to understand the original design intent. This was captured in the comprehensive Statement of Heritage Significance prepared to support the Listed Building application. The thoroughness of this document and the demonstration of how our proposals preserved and enhanced the original building design was key to the approval of the refurbishment application.

Research intensive

The University of Leeds is a research intensive academic institution and their brief called for a library that would deliver a commensurate quality of accommodation and resources for students and staff. The Edward Boyle Library places a strong focus on post-graduate study and requirements. A dedicated Post Graduate and Research Suite has been established on the top floor. This suite provides exemplar working conditions and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration. A consolidation of the library’s book collection has allowed us to create 200 more reader spaces, to accommodate the growing student population.

At the Ground floor level a vibrant new cafe was introduced overlooking the landscaped external courtyard. Views to the outside and improved daylight penetration were increased through a programme of extensive re-glazing works. We also worked hard to improve the legibility of signage leading to the library and the wayfinding within it.


The re-presented building delivers a state-of the-art library and once again reveals the design strength and original concepts of the Chamberlin, Powell & Bon campus buildings that are such an asset to the university.


Kate Newell – Senior Conservation Officer, Leeds City Council

Performance Improvement

We have utilised secondary glazing, internally applied insulation and air tightness remedial works to radically improve the building’s energy performance. Throughout the building the mechanical and electrical systems have been comprehensively replaced to bring them in line with those found in contemporary libraries. These measures ensured that the library was one of the first buildings to achieve Excellent under the latest BREEAM assessment method.

Despite our breadth of experience working within the HE sector, we are always thrilled when we are faced with a new and complex design challenge. Our refurbishment proposals have transformed a 1970’s library design into a high quality, contemporary educational facility, whilst retaining the unique character of the listed building. We continue to work with the University and will be delivering their Innovation and Enterprise Centre in the summer of 2018.