NSC Archives

Weekly News

Pre-construction deal signed for British Library archive

Wates Construction has been appointed as pre-construction stage partner for the redevelopment of the British Library site at Boston Spa, West Yorkshire.

The 45-week PCSC (pre-construction services consultant) role will see Wates working alongside the client’s design team up to RIBA Stage 4 with services engineer, Buro Happold and London-based, architectural practice, Carmody Groarke.

The scheme involves the construction of a new 28m-high, 5,274m2 fully automated net-zero carbon archive building, which will feature a public viewing gallery and 220km of extra shelf space. The project also includes an extensive renovation of the nearby 1970s Brutalist-style Urquhart Building for the library’s 550 on-site staff, including a new reading room, restaurant and café for visitors.

Sustainability will be an integral feature of this ambitious programme, including the creation of new and improved green spaces to support biodiversity and enhance the natural environment surrounding the site.

Phil Spence, Chief Operating Officer, British Library, said: “This is a significant milestone for our Boston Spa site, which will transform the accessibility of our collections and services to people nationally. We look forward to working with our design team to deliver vital facilities that will support the growth of the national collection and open up access to a new generation of visitors.”

David Wingfield, Regional Director North East, Wates Construction, said: “We are delighted with our appointment. We know from past projects that the most critical success factors when constructing airtight buildings are genuine partnership and teamwork, for which Wates Construction has a proven track record. 

“This project will set the standard for facilities of this type worldwide.  Nothing like this archive has been built in the UK before, where the environment is completely airtight, and when complete, a fully-automated racking and robotics system will be used to retrieve documents.”

The British Library aims to open its new spaces at Boston Spa by 2026.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Share this post


Click on the cover to view this month's issue as a digimag.