University of Oxford gets potential net zero library and study centre

Our work for St John’s builds on a deep awareness of how to integrate contemporary buildings within historic settings. We are fascinated by connections across time conjured by place, which we strive to understand and reinterpret in a modern idiom.
– Clare Wright

Wright & Wright Architects, working with Max Fordham, have unveiled a new potentially net zero library and study centre at the University of Oxford's St John's College.

The building is the first of its kind at the college and is powered by a 215sq m (2,300sq ft) solar array installed to cover all possible areas of the roof. The 2kWp system is expected to generate around 40,000kwh/pa, while the building is expected to use between from 56,430kwh and 181,260kwh. However, all of the building's heating and cooling requirements are expected to be met by the use of ground source heat pumps.

In addition to generating renewable energy on site, the library and study centre has been designed to minimise energy use by employing a variety of passive measures. To begin with, thermal modelling was carried out to ensure the right specification of glazing was used in each room, with fully glazed roofs installed in the main reading areas.

Larger spaces are naturally ventilated by a building management system that controls air-flows and window opening, while smaller rooms have manual controls. A mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system is used where natural ventilation is not possible, with limited duct runs helping to minimise the fan energy needed to move the air around.

The building’s heating and lighting system is controlled from the reception desk, allowing it to be shut down in areas of the building that are not in use.

In terms of design, Wright & Wright says the building's "elegant, contemporary architectural language abstracts the College's Baroque heritage" and that it comprises a series of overlapping planes of masonry and glass.

Clare Wright, Founding Partner of Wright & Wright said: "Our work for St John’s builds on a deep awareness of how to integrate contemporary buildings within historic settings. We are fascinated by connections across time conjured by place, which we strive to understand and reinterpret in a modern idiom."

The building was commissioned in 2015 and is due to open on Saturday 12th October. Its energy use will need to be reviewed ideally after twi continuous years of operation in order to be able to confirm actual energy use.

Wright & Wright Architects  Oxford  University of Oxford  net zero  library 
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