New Library Building
The new Library Building at Hereford Cathedral is sited in the south east corner of the Cathedral Close and houses part of the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library Exhibition, the Cathedral Working Library and the Cathedral Archive. The building is attached to the west side of the existing Dean Leigh Library Building which was erected in 1897 on the site of the west range of the medieval Lady Arbour Cloister.
The ground floor of the new building provides a permanent home for Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library. These are accessible to the public via an interpretative exhibition in the south cloister range. The Cathedral Working Library is housed on the first floor and the archive in the basement. These have their own entrance in Palace Yard.
The new building, designed by architects Whitfield Partners, has been carefully sited to associate with the adjacent west front of the Cathedral and the gateway to the Bishop's Palace. It also provides a new focus at the south end of Broad Street. The design acknowledges the character of the Cathedral and cloister and is a simple expression of structural forms that uses traditional materials.
Constructed in Derbyshire sandstone, the new building has pitched roofs covered in Westmoreland slate and lead. The upper floor is of timber construction with Herefordshire oak trusses supporting a cedar lined roof. The oak frame is expressed externally in the link structure and the end gable frames. In order to protect the Cathedral treasures, the building incorporates sophisticated environmental design. Wherever possible, passive measures have been adopted in the design of the building structure; thick, highly insulated walls and small window openings.
Air conditioning has been included in order to give the public free access to the Chained Library. This eliminates the need for barriers between visitors and the books. Extensive security measures include an argonite fire extinguishing installation.
All of the environmental services have been designed for low energy use and have been incorporated into the fabric of the building to minimise their visual impact.
Architects: Whitfield Partners.
Structural Engineers: Whitby and Bird.
Services Engineers: W. S. Atkins Building Services Engineering.
Quantity Surveyor: Gordon Cain.
Main Contractor: Treasure and Son Ltd.
Exhibition Design: Ivor Heal Design Ltd