The three storey concrete frame extension to the existing building will increase the space available for studying by nearly 50%. The building is in a central position between the existing library and lecture theatres, which required additional design considerations due to the site being part of a live educational facility.
The design and build contract at the university's Stag Hill campus in Guildford comprised the 4,600m² extension building with retail space on the ground floor and new learning facilities on the upper floors, the upgrading of existing facilities and all associated infrastructure works (including mechanical and electrical) and complete fit out.
The VolkerFitzpatrick project team designed the building to achieve a Very Good rating with BREEAM, as well as using bespoke solutions during construction to ensure the best possible outcome given its surroundings. These include Cobiax pcc units and a Montawall cladding system.
Carole Seymour-Jones said: "I am delighted and honoured as a writer to perform the ceremony at a library I do believe that libraries are one of the cornerstones of civilisation and congratulate the University of Surrey."
Professor Chris Snowden, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, added that the facilities would greatly enhance student experience of learning.
He said: "Here at Surrey, we understand that Universities and their libraries operate as a community with a focus on learning and teaching. Both support the generation of new knowledge in an environment which encourages creative and independent thinking.
"This new building reinforces our ethos, extending the library's role as a hub of learning and study, and with a clear focus on the student learning experience."
Jeff Niehorster, Director at VolkerFitzpatrick, said: "We were delighted to win the contract to build the Learning Centre here at the University of Surrey following closely on from our first project here; the Guildford School of Acting. This repeat business is a great credit to our project team.
"The biggest challenge on this project was the central location of the construction site; surrounded by pedestrian walkways, busy university buildings and the only access to site being the main campus entrance. With this in mind not only was the design of utmost importance, but also the everyday logistics. Excellent communication and working well with the client team ensured minimum disruption to the education of the 15,000 students on campus."
VolkerFitzpatrick will complete the new Learning Centre at University of Surrey in May 2011.