Cranfield University was founded in 1946 as a school for aeronautical engineers. Today it is one of Britain’s leading technical education and research establishments, incorporating a wide range of postgraduate studies, and is a major foreign currency earner for research contracts. The building reformulates the concept of the library in the information age: it is the reverse of the closed book stacks and forbidding screens and security barriers of traditional libraries. Seven kilometres of open bookshelves are located on the upper levels, freeing the ground-floor entrance area for social uses, focused around a coffee bar.

Facts + Figures

  • Appointment: 1989
  • Completion: 1992