The refurbished Elaine Thomas Library, on the University for the Creative Arts Farnham Campus, opened in 2013. The library contains an extensive range of specialist books and electronic resources. What makes the redevelopment stand out is the university’s unwavering commitment to integration of its high proportion of students with disabilities. The redevelopment of the Farnham library space came with a very specific set of challenges.
“When the brief came to redevelop this space, we agreed one of the key points would be universal access,” said Simon Harper, gateway services manager at UCA Farnham. “We decided that at all points there would be clear wheelchair turning areas. There is not one place in this building where a wheelchair cannot turn 360 degrees, and that includes the mobile storage systems."
Bruynzeel developed and installed a range of user-friendly electronically powered mobile storage systems to house the library’s 70.000-plus store of books that would allow access for all – including those in wheelchairs. Following detailed consultation, the mobile storage systems were planned with non-standard extra wide aisles. At 1800mm, these not only allowed full wheelchair access, but allowed a large enough turning circle to accommodate motorized wheelchairs.
Simon Harper, Gateway Service Manager at UCA Farnham
Bruynzeel’s electronic system is easy to use. Its Dynamic controller allows almost anyone to access the mobile shelving aisles, including students with physical disabilities. All shelving units, whatever their load, move instantaneously if required. The control panels can been sited at low height enabling the button to be reached by wheelchair users.