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When the University of Aberdeen decided to construct a state-of-the-art 16,000 sqm new library, it was crucial that the storage system would enhance the architecture’s quality.


The brief:

Upon receiving approval for a new library, Aberdeen University aimed for a contemporary and original structure to showcase their institution. They enlisted the expertise of cutting-edge architects, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, for a visually stunning and practical design to accommodate over 700,000 visitors annually. The eight-storey building featured a spiralling atrium, and to complement this unique design, our team collaborated with the university and architects to provide a storage solution that would enhance the overall building aesthetics.

The solution:

The library had two distinct product requirements, aligning with the design conceived by both the collections staff and the architects. Modern collections, including arts, humanities, and social and physical sciences, needed accessibility for both students and the local community. For these, we proposed our static shelving system, Proform, designed for flush apertures to protect books and documents. Our installation team fitted 1,834 bays and 12,270 linear meters of Proform shelving, echoing the spiral atrium design of the first seven floors.


The second stage involved secure and safe storage for special collections on the lower ground floor. To address this, we again, proposed Proform, a high-density storage solution on a Multitrak mobile base, to accommodate the sheer volume of rare books and manuscripts. The design team worked with archivists to create an ergonomic layout, ensuring optimised access for specialists. The entire collection was successfully housed, with provisions for future expansion.


“We were a little in awe when Aberdeen University approached us for their storage needs in their new building. The design by Schmidt Hammer Lassen was unlike anything we had seen before, and our designers worked tirelessly for six months. Both the library and our team were thrilled with how the final storage complemented the new building.” – Fergus Doherty, Rackline Managing Director.