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Architecture prize for Edward Boyle Library

Refurbishment wins Most Outstanding Conserved Building at the Leeds Architecture Awards.

University Librarian Stella Butler collected the award alongside representatives from Associated Architects at Leeds Town Hall on Thursday 28 February.

“We wanted to take an architecturally important building and make it an even better environment for students, researchers and lecturers" Stella explained. "We have had record visitor numbers and great feedback from those using this library since reopening and it’s an honour to be able to accept this award.” 

The Edward Boyle Library fought off fierce competition in its category, including Castleton Mill, The Lost & Found, and the University's own Fine Arts Building. Other winners on the night included Kirkstall Forge and East Street Art's A City Less Grey urban art initiative.

Head of Collection Services, Jane Saunders worked as the lead on the project and oversaw the refurbishment from beginning to end: “It was a challenge to try and modernise a Grade II listed building. We’re so pleased that the productive partnership with Associated Architects managed to stay true to the vision of the original architects and created an environment that has proved so appealing to students and researchers.”

The “South Library” was originally conceived in 1959, when the University appointed architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon to come up with a strategy for an extensive teaching precinct. This was later named as the Edward Boyle Library.

Opened in 1975, the library was initially designed to act as the University's undergraduate library, with plenty of room for students' core course materials and new teaching spaces. Expanding in 1997 and receiving Grad II Listed status in 2010, plans for large-scale improvements were drawn up shortly after. Following the multi-million pound refurbishment, the library reopened in 2017 with more study spaces than ever before, a dedicated postgraduate space, and an interior that complements the distinctive, Brutalist exterior.