2008 winners

Information Commons, University of Sheffield

Information Commons

Photograph: Nick Hufton

Building of the Year

Gold White Rose Award

Architect: RMJM

Client: University of Sheffield


This striking building represents a whole new typology within higher education, “the integrated learning environment”. Open 24/7, this innovative resource is neither traditional library nor common room but is conceived instead as a twenty four hour IT enabled student learning space. The building contains 1350 study spaces and 110,000 volumes of books. A variety of environments is provided for individual or group learning.

The judges were impressed before even entering the building. An arresting composition of patinated copper and dark terracotta the building is a commanding presence on its roundabout setting, announcing arrival at the University’s principle campus. The judges also enjoyed the drama of entering the building through a low compressed podium storey, from which you rise into the base of a dramatic four storey atrium. This atrium, at the heart of the building and elegantly detailed with exposed concrete soffits and cantilevered stairs acts as the successful organizing device for the subsidiary areas. Seductive vistas both through the building and out to the city beyond promote a feeling of community within and a sense of engagement with the city at large.

This building is a credit to both client and architect, an asset to both University and City.


Top of page|