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University Library - article in 'Interior Design' June 1968, pp.36-41

Identifier: Coll-1129

Scope and Contents

Article by Jim Burgess entitled 'University library' in the magazineInterior Design, June 1968, published by NTP Business Journals, London, consists of pp.36-41. There are thirteen monochrome illustrations showing the exterior and interior of the new library building, four floor plans, and some textual information. The photographer for the piece was Henk Snoek.


  • Creation: 1968

Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

The Main Library building of Edinburgh University Library was opened on George Square, Edinburgh in 1967. The new building was designed by J. Hardie Glover and Andrew Merrylees of the Sir Basil Spence partnership Spence, Glover & Ferguson (Edinburgh). Planning started in 1963 and construction began in March 1965. The building featured external materials such as Portland stone, concrete and glass, and interior finishes included teak, white beech, glazing, carpet tiling, and quartzite flooring. Furnishings in the building included Danish chairs in black plywood and stainless steel.

When the new Library building was completed in September 1967, Edinburgh University Library began the move of some 2-million books from its old location, Playfair Library in the Old Quad' (designed by Robert Adam).

Although the Main Library building has provided excellent space through its 40 year history, by the 2000s it was struggling to provide the facilities and working spaces required for 21st century methods of teaching, learning and research. In addition, four decades of wear and tear on the building meant that it was in need of a comprehensive upgrade. The University has invested £60 million in refurbishing the building to make it fir for new purpose.

The article in the 1968 magazine piece featured in this collection was Jim Burgess, and the photographer was Henk Snoek (1915-1980). Snoek was said to be 'one of Britain's most accomplished architectural photographers', and worked for architects as diverse as Basil Spence and Yorke Rosenberg and Mardall. He was born in the Netherlands, and he studied at the Hague School of Art. Snoek's photography reflected the Bauhaus principles on which the Hague School of Art was run, and was 'characterised by a strong sense of drama, simple, forceful lines and high contrasts'.


1 folder

Physical Location


Edinburgh University Library featured in article by Jim Burgess, 'Interior Design', June 1968
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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