Environmental Case Study
Fig 1, Taken from second floor highlighting the atrium and stairs in Central Library Liverpool
In this case study I will be investigating the internal environmental aspects of the Liverpool Central
Library, I will be discussing how effective the building performs in terms of lighting and thermal comfort. To evaluate these properties I will be exploring questions such as, how is daylight and artificial light provided? How is heating is provided? And how does ventilation work within the building? Overall I hope to determine with this essay whether the Central Library is a comfortable environment for the public.
When entering the building one can see that the internal aesthetics of the Central Library is stunningly beautiful, when first looking up towards the atrium and layers of stairs it reminds me of the Liverpool one staircase on Paradise Street. It has been said “The librarians like the idea that this is a department store of the mind.” Which is something that struck me as I walked in because it has a department store feel to the building, perhaps because of the white polymer that we see in so many shopping centres today.
Fig 2, Liverpool One, Paradise Street
Fig 3, A view of the atrium and staircases in Central Library Liverpool
4, Atrium located at the top of Central Library
The main source of daylight is from the atrium at the top of the building; there is a central opening from the ground floor up to the fourth floor, which is how the light disperses through to the five floors. The time of day at which I conducted my survey was
14:30 to 16:30 during overcast weather; during my investigation I found that the structure and shape of the atrium is ideal in that it is not affected by the orientation of the building. This is because the library faces south, so in the UK our 1
Fig 5, S kylight on the south side of the building
daylight comes from that direction, which is favourable because the atrium is oval shaped and can absorb daylight throughout most of the day. The atrium itself is made from glue-laminated timber otherwise known as Glulam. Glulam is used in a project like this because the components needed to make the structure cannot be sourced from sawn timber. Glulam could be considered to be a better choice than steel or concrete because it’s much more sustainable in that it requires less energy to manufacture and in terms of aesthetics it is accepted more by the general public. I think that the quality of daylight is more than adequate for its purpose. The atrium previously mentioned is situated on the fifth floor, which is also where a small work area is located; this is the main source of light for that particular floor. However on the second floor, which is where my investigation was held, the daylight managed to filter slightly into the edges of the center but was lacking for other areas on the second floor. This is due to the staircases becoming an obstacle for the light as the stairs weave above each other as part of the design. To overcome this I would change the material of the staircase rather than the design of the staircase because the intention of it is to act as an element or feature and if that were changed then it would perhaps change your whole interpretation of the library when you walk in. I think it’s also important to note that, had there have been no artificial lighting, the daylight source would be somewhat sufficient to an extent to light up the library, however its strength would decline as the light descends down the floors. I find that the main purpose of the atrium is for aesthetics, although it does bring in a lot of day light, it’s purpose is to attract people.
In terms of artificial