WORCESTER – The Hive is Europe’s first joint university and public library at the University of Worcester in the UK.
The project is a collaboration between architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and landscape architects Grant Associates. The two-hectare site includes the honey-coloured, hive-like library building surrounded by a series of islands and belvederes overlooking two landform basins containing rich vegetation, a local damp meadow and The Causeway, an extension of the city wall.
A wildflower water meadow is the main landscape. It serves as a resource for environmental education and is robust enough to deal with seasonal flooding from the river. The water meadow filters rain and surface water through reed bed swales in an urban drainage system. There are two habitat islets on the water meadow. One is reachable by a bridge from the children’s library and the second is a wildlife haven with large canopy trees and coppice-planting providing secluded nesting and roosting for local birds.
Peter Chmiel, director of Grant Associates, described the project as a ‘leading example of sustainable design, including productive urban gardens, locally sourced materials and plant species, and careful landscape management to enhance species diversity and ecological richness.’
A network of pedestrian friendly routes encircle the Library and History Centre. They broaden out to form seating terraces and outdoor rooms that encourages interaction between students and members of the local community.
Photos courtesy of Grant Associates