James Ussher Library, Trinity College Dublin

Perhaps one of the most significant elements of the college development is the James Ussher Library which was opened for use in April 2002, some 300 years after the construction of the college’s first library, now known as the Old Library.

The James Ussher Library is situated between the listed Berkley Library and Nassau Street, fronting College Park and linking with the existing Lecky Library.  The building comprises 8-storey concrete frame, 5½ above ground and 2½-storey basement. 

Detailed consideration was given to ground water control both during construction and in the final state due to the presence of Artesian pressures identified during the site investigation. A Grade 4 environment for water-tightness was achieved using a fully tanked external membrane together with an internal drained cavity. 

The high quality exposed feature concrete frame demanded high attention to detail and rigorous on site supervision as the finished concrete was to remain natural.  The building is designed on the natural ventilation principle with the exposed concrete acting as a heat sink enabling it to absorb, store and later radiate heat.