Meet The Hive. Now housing Worcester’s main library, this golden building, completed in 2013, has received the prestigious British Construction Industry (BCI) Sustainability Award and the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Building Performance Award.

The first building of its kind in Europe, this Worcester library holds over 12 miles of archive collections, 250,000 books and 10,000m2 of public space over 5 floors.


But despite its golden sheen and “fragmented” design, there’s more to The Hive than meets the eye. This is a building which has been designed and built to be incredibly sustainable – and to teach those who use it some valuable lessons about treating our environment thoughtfully. The building uses a number of sophisticated systems to make this possible including:

  • Natural ventilation & summertime cooling systems
  • Daylight maximization
  • Rainwater harvesting system
  • Biomass heating
  • River water cooling
  • Water management
  • Planting & ecological management

The original brief for this building outlined the requirement for a 50% renewable energy figure. Architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios then worked to future-proof the structure using meteorological predictions for the next 50 years.

The structure

Located to the South of Worcester city centre on the banks of the River Severn, this building is spread across a 13,253m2 plot. Its gold cladding sets off the irregular cone-shaped peaks of the roof, said to have been inspired by the landscape of the nearby Malvern Hills. The golden sheen is thanks to over 11,000m2 of 60×60 recycled copper tiles, installed by the very same craftsmen who refurbished the roof of the golden Dome on the Rock in Jerusalem.

Inside The Hive

This is a truly show stopping building both inside and out. The main entrance comprises a great atrium, full of natural light and paved with stone from the nearby Forest of Dean. The five flight ash wood staircase is yet another marvel. Intersected by the five separate floors, this beautiful 42 step staircase rises from the atrium supported by cross-laminated timber panels.

What do you make of this beautiful new library? Do you think that it’s garish or gorgeous? Have you worked on any exciting projects recently? Share your stories with our readers below.