External night


External night


Level 0 Learning Commons 1


Level 0 Learning Commons 2


Level 0 Learning Commons Study Pod


Level 0 Learning Commons Window Seating


Level 1 Group Study Room


Level 1 Info Point


Level 1 Library stairs


Level 1 Reading Room entrance


Level 1 Reading Room


Level 2 Link bridge to silent study


Level 2 Silent study


Levels 1 & 2 link bridges



RCSI is Ireland’s national statutory professional training body for surgeons and Ireland’s only stand-alone health sciences institution dedicated to the education and training of healthcare professionals. The new building on 26 York Street aimed to be student-centric with multiple learning and study environments combined with cutting edge clinical and surgical training facilities. For the library the objective was to create a vibrant, state of the art learning space by combining knowledge of RCSI students’ library use and preferences with best practice in library & learning space design. Additionally we aimed to: meet student requests to “get the basics right”; position the library service within the continuum of life-long and self-directed learning supports; to show case, and be an access point for, the full range of library services, and ultimately, to use space as a change agent signifying that “library” is something more than a place . As 85% of the interaction with RCSI Library service is online the library spaces are viewed as one aspect of our overall service and are designed to support curricula, provide access to specialist services and contribute to RCSI student engagement activities and reputation enhancement objectives.

The result is a state of the art academic health sciences library integrated into a state of the art clinical and education building containing the largest simulation centre in Europe. No 26 York Street builds on 200 years of excellence and innovation in medical training and underpins the College’s historic presence on St Stephen’s Green complementing and extending the existing city centre campus.

External features

Located in the historic core of Dublin and on a compact site the building is a complex stack of ten storeys, four underground and six above, and with 5 distinct space typologies. Its presence in an urban inner city environment has had a transformative effect on the streetscape; the transparency and openness of the ground floor invites interaction with the upgraded public realm. The building signifies its presence with a projecting pennant of pale-grey brick which cantilevers over the pavement and on Level 1 an oculus window seat in the Reading Lounge projects out to the street giving a “window into the future”. The building facade to the front is fully glazed with a light frit adding body to the permeable facade. Full height glazing on the ground level reveals the activities of students inside and invites the public to be aware of the nature of the activities within the building. It also gives a view of the V-shaped concrete pillars that support the building and act as space dividers by carving out group social zones. The curtain walling and glazing to the southern and rear facade is protected from solar heat gain by the utilisation of an additional external anodized mesh which also provides a layer of privacy to adjoining residential dwellings.

Internal features

The building is organised around a central atrium, around which is gathered a wide variety of student break out and informal learning spaces. The atrium also facilitates transparency and visual connectivity between the student spaces and surrounding specialised teaching and simulation spaces. Polished terrazzo is common to circulation spaces which are considered as a series of interconnected vertically stacked piazzas leading to the various educational thresholds. Exposed concrete in various finishes reveals the structural anatomy of the building. A pair of cranked mental stairs connect the three library levels while the clinical and surgical training floors are connected by a similarly constructed helical spiral. Colour and texture is used to differentiate between key functions and to assist with wayfinding.

The campus security centre is located in the building and a reception desk is staffed by security personnel. The library information point is located on Level 1 of the building or the second floor of library.

No book security is in use and the building is swipe access only. Internal access to the library is from all entrances on all floors.

Staff facilities include a staff kitchen on the second level of the library.



The Building

The Building

Type of library

Central/main library/LRC

Multi-purpose building


3600 m2




Henry J Lyons

Building contractor

Bennett Construction

The Space

The Space

Features and services

Special services

Audiovisual/Multimedia areas, Cafe/refreshment areas, Group study spaces, Hosting of other agencies, Open learning provision, Services to particular groups, Specialist subject collections, Teaching rooms

• Expo Stage (Pop-up engagement and promotional point)
• Amphitheatre (Practice presentation room)
• Collaborative & silent study areas
• Post-graduate suite
• Reading Lounge
• Language Learning & Support Centre
• Info Point
• Dispersed study spaces throughout the building outside the library floors

Energy efficiency

The project is on target to achieve a LEED Gold sustainability accreditation.

Accessibility provision

The project conforms to universal design. Building access and circulation is wheelchair assessable; disabled toilets and hearing loop system; At the stand-up/high seat Information Point bench seating provides access to the service for wheelchair users.

Interior designer

Henry J Lyons

Furniture suppliers

• Sheelin Group (Furniture)
• MJ Flood Interiors (Furniture)
• Storage Solutions suppliers of Bruynzeel Shelving
• Castle Group – fit out specialists

Services and facilities suppliers

• Self service - Bibliotheca
• Room booking – Sentry ISIS
• Swipe access control at room level – Salto Systems
• Library Management Systems – Ex Libris
• AV – Image Supply Systems (ISS)
• Digital Signage - OneLAN

IT provision

Digital signage; Internet access, Laptop power and data points throughout, RFID, Self-service circulation, WiFi

96 public use computer terminals.

Seats/study places