Swanke Hayden Connell
© Swanke Hayden Connell

Open University Library

The Open University changed the role of its library so that it now features as a more important contributor to research and teaching activities.  This was achieved by delivering information services to academic staff, supporting their research and course development and providing increased levels of support to on and off campus students and associate lecturers. 

As the client representative, MRC managed the £17m project, providing the partnering platform (this was the University’s first project based on partnering principles) and project leadership that resulted in an extremely efficient procurement-to-design phase, taking just five months.  

The project was a huge success, delivered on time and within budget, so much so, that the Open University subsequently decided to develop two more areas of the campus, using the same principles, and commissioned MRC to lead the procurement of these.

The building won a SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries) Buildings Award in 2007,

‘The team who visited the Open University was impressed by the attractive functional design in all aspects of this building – everything works well. This is a great space to be in – light, airy with an informal but calm ambience.  A friendly, and appropriately, an open building, which has good use of art works and a wide range of study spaces. It has acted as a catalyst for change, bringing in students as well as staff.  The spaces for the staff were the best we saw and the building is very flexible.’  

Project details




Estate Vice-Chancellor