Lanchester Library, Coventry University
Coventry’s Library was won in full European competition in 1995, in collaboration with the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development at De Montfort University.
It is the world’s first deep-plan, multi-storey, naturally conditioned building on anything like this scale. The library staff wanted large open square floor plans. In fact the building could be used for any kind of corporate activity, it is a kind of universal diagram. Its plan form was distilled from a series of feasibility studies involving iterative intensive brain-storming and testing of a series of type forms. It develops a small campus plan with a mall/galleria, a bookshop and café and extensive landscaping leading to a lake stocked with fish, and a mediaeval Friary. It makes a new public park and garden for the city.