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The Hive, Worcester Library

The site is on the western fringe of Worcester city center and lies within the regeneration area of St Clements’ Gate. This is an important zone, situated in the medieval center and the riverside. In the second half of the twentieth century, it became fragmented and lost any urban form. To the south of the site, there is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, which is retained and exploited as part of the site-wide historic interpretation.

Courtesy of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

The roof is formed by a series of irregularly laminated timber roof cones, which optimize natural lighting and ventilation throughout the structure. We have designed the central atrium’s double height, ash-lined interior to extend the roof’s timber vernacular into the heart of the building. A feature stair allows easy access to facilities across multiple levels. Working with artist Libby Lloyd, we developed a palette for The Hive that reflects colors typically used in the heyday of the Royal Worcester pottery.

Courtesy of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

The Hive was conceived as a ‘social landscape’ providing horizontal and vertical connections, allowing every user to move around the building freely. Access through the site is provided by a series of ramps that form an external street. This approach has allowed us to create step-free access. The building’s form and its unique structure draw inspiration from the kilns of the historic Royal Worcester works and the undulating ridge of the Malvern Hills.

Courtesy of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Through innovative parametric modeling developed in-house, we were able to remove 250 tons of steel in the roof by replacing it with laminated timber. This saved 2,000 tons of CO2 compared with a concrete or steel alternative. The building is cooled using water from the nearby River Severn, and a biomass boiler uses locally sourced woodchip to generate heat. By incorporating sustainable measures such as these, The Hive achieved an ‘A’ rating from the EPC, an award of Outstanding by BREEAM and excellent post-occupancy performance.

Courtesy of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Project Info
Architects: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Location: Worcestershire
Client: The University of Worcester and Worcestershire County Council
Construction value: £35,800,000
Completion: January 2012
Type: Library

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