Students using Lancaster University’s library will now have a unique backdrop to their studies, following the installation of an eight-metre-high Ficus tree inside the building’s newly-created atrium study space

The live tree, which enhances the environment, forms the centrepiece of a renovation scheme designed by Sheppard Robson and delivered by Styles&Wood, integrated property services and project delivery specialist group.

In addition to installing the tree in a specially-designed indoor planting pit, the 69-week project saw Styles&Wood create a flexible, technology-enabled environment with a range of individual and group work spaces. The team also installed new fixtures and furnishings and reconfigured stairs and lifts across the 14,500 sq m building to create more intuitive and accessible user experience for students.

Director of facilities, Mark Swindlehurst said: “Lancaster University now enjoys a resource that reinforces and reflects the University’s reputation as a world-class centre for teaching and research.”

“The re-modelled library offers a flexible, inspiring, technology-enabled environment with a range of individual and group work spaces to support different learning styles.

“Our students and staff are delighted with this contemporary facility, which meets the very highest design standards and the modern needs of its users.”

Gideon Levene, head of projects at Styles&Wood, said: “We’re well versed in working in live, occupied environments but this was certainly one of our more logistically challenging projects to complete the phased handovers as required. This extensive refurbishment has created a stunning learning environment for Lancaster University’s 12,000 students, with a fantastic talking point as its centre piece.”

“High quality facilities remain a key factor in the race to attract the best candidates, and the completion of this project is further evidence of our team’s growing reputation for delivering impressive learning environments in the higher education sector.”

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