University appoints Pihl UK for construction of new library

The University of Aberdeen has appointed construction company Pihl UK Ltd as main contractor for its flagship new library.

The contract is for construction of a building of nine floors including a lower ground floor and landscaping.  

The new University of Aberdeen library will replace the existing Queen Mother Library, and provide a 21st century learning and research environment for students, staff and visitors.

Professor Christopher Gane, Vice-Principal and academic lead for the project said: "The new library will provide the very best learning and research environment for the University and a fitting home for our historic library and archival collections.  It will also open up those collections to all of the wider communities that we serve, as well as making a stunning addition to the architecture of Aberdeen. A building designed to the highest architectural standards deserves the very highest standards in its execution, and that is why we are delighted to welcome Pihl UK onto the library team."

Angus Donaldson, Director of Estates at the University, added: "The library contract award is a hugely significant milestone in the ongoing development and enhancement of the University estate and the facilities we are able to offer our communities. This stunning building sets a new benchmark in terms of physical and design quality. In these uncertain times for the construction industry in general I am sure that an award like this will be a very welcome boost."

W. Aird Buist, Regional Manager for Pihl UK Ltd said: "We are delighted to have been appointed to deliver the new University library, which will be an elegant and iconic addition to an established world class University. This gives us the opportunity to enhance the educational experience for those within the University and wider community. Working with the University of Aberdeen and the project team, we truly believe we can provide the construction link in the creation of this outstanding facility."

Pihl UK Ltd will begin to mobilise onsite at the end of July and construction will begin in August. The new library is scheduled to be open for students, staff, local communities and other visitors in September 2011.

Conceived by architects schmidt hammer lassen as a cube evoking the ice and light of the north, the new building has a sharp, modern design, and a striking interior of sweeping contours around an asymmetrical atrium which rises diagonally from the public ground floor through the floors above. Flexible areas on the upper floors will provide an ideal modern learning environment in which new media and the latest technology will enhance the University's magnificent collection of books.

The new library will also house the University's distinguished collections of rare historic manuscripts, books, and archives. For the first time, these treasures will be widely accessible for research and learning, including a programme of exhibitions, educational and cultural events.

Pihl UK Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of E.Pihl & Søn A.S, which is a global corporation with Danish roots. The Pihl Group covers all major types of civil engineering and construction activities from infrastructure assignments, water supply, environmental projects to universities and cultural buildings.