Creating the Hive

Worcestershire County Council and the University of Worcester worked together to create a new multi-million pound city centre library, history and customer centre for students and the public. The two organisations, along with the support of Worcester City Council and Advantage West Midlands, realised the opportunity of creating a combined facility for the whole community to use, and the project has developed into one of the most exciting new libraries in Europe.

In October 2004 the County Council and the University met to discuss the merits of a joint library. This model is unique and has never been undertaken before in this Country. This meeting marked the start of a new thriving Partnership between the University and the County Council.

Galliford Try were announced in 2009 as the preferred contractor to design, build, finance and operate the building, following approval by the University Board of Governors and the County Council Cabinet.

Bath-based architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios designed The Hive. The innovative design won the international Bentley Be Inspired Innovation in Generative Design and was shortlisted for Best Designed Project and for Best Local Government Project Team in the Public-Private Finance awards.

Building work began on a derelict site in the city centre in 2010 and the doors opened to the public for the first time on 2 July 2012. The Hive was officially opened on 11 July 2012 by Her Majesty the Queen.

In 2004, the public library service had identified that the original Worcester City library building was no longer fit for purpose and needed to modernise to raise the level of service required by library users of the future. At the same time, the University was exploring the development of a new City Campus and was actively seeking to improve its learning resources. The Council and the University therefore came together and forged a partnership that led to the creation of The Hive.

By bringing services and facilities together under one roof and with the investment and support of the government, The Hive aims to encourage even more people to join the public library and explore what it has to offer, which is so much more than just a library.

We hope that what we will do is help people see the connection between the university and the city. It is now possible to walk on a pedestrian route from the cathedral through the city centre and into the library, then on to the city campus.

Anne Hannaford, University of Worcester Director of Information and Learning Services

The Hive is an extension of the city and will provide a tangible link to the university – the city centre is on one side of The Hive and the university’s new city centre campus is on the other. Bringing the two together will cement the already strong working relationship between Council and University.

The name ‘The Hive’ was chosen to represent the purposeful activity, and sense of community which the development will help to create. It is also a reflection of the building’s appearance, with its bold, distinctive golden ‘honeycomb’ cladding, which will mark it out as a physical as well as a cultural landmark for Worcester.