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University of Reading LibraryUniversity of Reading is constantly evolving to ensure it maintains its position as one of the UK's leading higher education institutions. Established over 120 years ago in Reading, Berkshire it is spread across a 160-acre campus. It has a combination of buildings including Whiteknights, the former country estate of the Marquis of Blandford, through to recently opened ultra-modern research facilities. Quadrant Carpets became involved in the redevelopment of the university's library when Stride Treglown, the architects, were investigating a hardwearing, striking and contemporary floor covering to match the new designs for this essential student facility.
The 1960s Scandinavian influenced building has had previous extensions and updates insensitively applied resulting in a structure that no longer functioned effectively within the evolving requirements of student learning and study patterns. Furthermore, due to the extended internal consultation concerning the future of the library, its interiors had not been modernised for some years, resulting in adverse feedback and reluctance to the use of the building.
After engaging with students and staff Stride Treglown developed a highly flexible solution to the space that would be redeveloped in a number of phases. Initially the fifth floor and second floor were designated for renovation, and the other floors and areas would accommodate the library facilities while the work was on going. The alterations entailed internal partitions, new ceilings, toilets and external glazing as well as furnishings.
Kenton Simons, architect, Stride Treglown picks up the story. "We had investigated various flooring options when Chris Forbes from Quadrant Carpets presented the 'Perspective' and 'Elements' ranges. They had considered our brief and with a number of options offered the most appropriate solution to us. It was essential that the carpet was hardwearing, easily maintained and suitable for the heavy book trolley use that it would surely receive."
Selecting the deep colour and textured finish of the Elements range in Zigana, provided a strong statement colour, while the architect and client contrasted this with the weave and linear design of Perspective's Kar. Both these ranges offer excellent acoustic properties, while providing a comfortable under foot feel. A good deal of luxury vinyl flooring, with a regular pattern, is used in the library and the linear pattern of Kar reflects this and is extensively used to provide a directional flow to the open spaces.
Kenton Simons, concluded. "Quadrant Carpets are very professional, they understood our requirements and provided solutions that met the brief and offered expertise through the entire process. They ensured that all timescales were met and product quality was excellent."
The two renovated floors now provide an extensive reading room with collaborative study area, filled with modern furniture, glass acoustic pods for group working, as well as smaller group and individual study seating. The fifth floor now encompasses a silent study area, which has become a magnet for students requiring peace and quite.
Phase one has been met with unanimous positive reaction from the student body, staff and faculty. So much so that phase two has been commissioned and Chris Forbes will be working with Stride Treglown to ensure the library becomes a significant centre of university life for many years to come.