The market town of Wymondham lies 10 miles southwest of Norwich. For many years the town’s library was housed in a converted 12th-century chapel. In the early 2000s the council decided to build a new library of 1500 square metres – double the size of the previous building.
NPS Group spearheaded the project and we were appointed to calculate reverberation times and advise on acoustic finishes for the proposed library. The building is defined as an adult and community learning building, therefore it was not subject to Part E of the Building Regulations. To maintain high acoustic standards, we used the criteria set out in Building Bulletin 93 as the basis for assessing room acoustics.
The imaginative architectural design is made up of a series of fan segments. These radiate from a circular rotunda at one corner of the library. The main ceiling structure was built from Glulam and steel beams.
Because of the unusual shape of the building, we created a CATT-Acoustic computer model to evaluate and develop the best acoustic treatments. This allowed the client to examine different options quickly and easily, reducing costs. The results were more accurate and comprehensive than statistical calculations alone. This is because the model took account of the location of different materials and allowed us to examine effects such as focussing and flutter echoes, which were of particular concern in the rotunda.
The new library houses 5000 more books than its predecessor. Within months of opening, library visits had increased by 73% and new library memberships soared by 12 times.
In 2008 Wymondham Library won the Institute of Structural Engineers (East Anglia) award for structural excellence.
Upon completion of the project, John Gretton – council member for cultural services – said: “I am completely bowled over by the new library. Not only is it a very impressive building that adds to the character of the town but it has clearly been designed to be welcoming, comfortable and convenient.”
Client : NPS Group
Architect : NPS Group
Contractor: Morgan Ashurst
Project value: £1.9 million
Photo credits: AJA