The Emily Wilding Davison building serves as a library and hub for student services at Royal Holloway, University of London, in Egham, Surrey. The new building was officially opened in October, by her Royal Highness the Princess Royal.
The university complex, which was completed in 23 months, was opened on time and delivered on budget, ready for the start of the academic year. At its heart is the library, offering state of the art resources and services, plus bright areas allowing all types of study and non-academic services.
Additional facilities within the Emily Wilding Davison building include a bank, café, gallery, and a special collections archive store. The project also included the redevelopment and landscaping of Founder’s Square, situated between the new library building and the Founder’s Building. This newly developed area is designed to host events and ceremonies, whilst providing students with pleasant areas to study and congregate.
The main structure comprises a reinforced concrete frame supported on a mixture of pad foundations and basement raft foundation. Structural reinforced concrete walls and upstand beams provide support to cantilevers and overhangs throughout the structure, which create the irregular building geometry.
Integral to the design is a large atrium space which splits the building into two sections above ground level. Several lightweight steel link bridges with profiled decking provide access across the vast tapering atrium, spanning up to 13m.
The innovative design presented a number of structural challenges, including providing a quality concrete finish to slab soffits, walls and columns, many of which were to be left exposed and visible within the building. Ramboll worked closely with the main contractor to ensure that these elements were cast with the superior quality finish desired by the client.
Special Collections Archive
The special collections archive store called on Ramboll’s specialist design expertise. This room provides a space to store extremely old and delicate books, manuscripts and works, and therefore had very strict design and operations performance, conforming to PD5454 Guide for the storage and exhibition of archival materials. The room, which has its own climate and humidity control system to protect its contents, was designed for four hours structural fire resistance. Furthermore, due to the archive’s basement location, significant waterproofing measures were also incorporated.