The extension to the original building, which was built in 1900, features 512 metres square of Pilkington Planar™ incorporating Pilkington Optiwhite™. Pilkington glass was used extensively in the exterior of the newly added structure, and also features in the interior in the stair balustrade within the atrium and the glass bridge, which connects the new building with the old.
“The new building is designed to promote learning," said Ian Cartwright, managing director of Bridgetown Developments Ltd, specialist contractors for the extension. "The emphasis has been placed on allowing the benefits of natural light to shine through, providing users with a more pleasant experience. It helps to create a bright and inspirational working area. The use of Pilkington Planar combined with Pilkington Optiwhite maximises the intake of natural light. It’s quite a contrast with the original building, which is gothic in style so naturally very dark inside, but they complement each other well.”
The extension and the refurbishment of the original building, which was built during the 1890s in memory of the cotton merchant John Rylands, has provided the library with a café, gift shop and new exhibition areas as well as improved wheelchair access. The library is part of the University of Manchester.