Lanchester Library - EH Smith

Lanchester Library

Coventry University

Frederick Lanchester, who was born in 1868, was an important and significant engineer in automotive development. His ideas and designs are relevant and important to our understanding of aeronautics, aerodynamics and propulsion more than seventy years after his death. His enthusiasm for cars, noted through the family’s Lanchester marque, survived until the 1950s and are revered by enthusiasts.

The Campus at Coventry University’s Science & Health Building makes full reference to Lanchester’s all-important contribution to the automotive heritage of the city.

The library in the family’s honour was designed by Short and Associates, and the distinctive turreted roof is solar-panelled and employs natural light with innovative lighting technology and natural ventilation via the turrets to reduce energy consumption, compared to traditional air conditioned buildings.

The £37m project provides 120,000sqft of state-of-the-art healthcare simulation, research and ‘super-lab’ environments.

Completed in 2000, the project was the first deep-plan, multi-storey, naturally air-conditioned building in the world and set the standard that others have followed. EH Smith worked closely with Short Associates and Totty Construction (now part of ISG) on brickwork selection and supply. The scheme was awarded “Best Public Building” at the Brick Awards in 2000.

Location: Coventry

Architect: Short Associates

Contractors: Totty Construction (now ISG)