Giwrgos Porakos + Effimia Athanasakopoulou
Manchester School of Architecture
@arch_student + @giwrgos_porakos + @efi.atha

The project was developed in collaboration with a live client, the MMU Estates, and its goal was the adaptive reuse of the 1980s Manchester’s Metropolitan University library building, located at the entrance of the campus.

Our approach was focusing on student’s wellbeing and mental health, as through our research we understood that is a pressing issue for the students in MMU and the society in general. Architecturally, this was translated into a building design that was able to create pleasant and comfortable spaces through Lighting and Nature, as those are two very important factors that influence our spatial experience. Consequently, we have created a design with a variety of green spaces, more views of nature, larger openings, bigger skylights, new atriums and a new façade that regulates how light is penetrating into the building creating a better atmosphere for the interior spaces.

Additionally, the whole programme and spatial layout of the existing building was reconfigured in order to respond better to the requirements of a contemporary library and create clear and well-defined spaces. Also, in response to the brief, the building now accommodates additional spaces that aim to improve student’s well-being and mental health such as games room, a physical exercise area, an escape garden, consultation rooms and a group therapy area.

Since the project was based on the collaboration with a live client, the intention from the beginning of the project was to create a design that proposes pragmatic solutions and reflect the aspirations of the client. The outcome is a proposal that responds to some of the most important issues that we faced as a society today and creates contemporary spaces for students to learn, study and interact, all accommodated within a landmark building at the entrance of the university campus.

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