Transforming UCL


Cruciform Hub

Project Overview

The Cruciform Hub is now open. The UCL Masterplan introduced the concept of "hubs" across the Bloomsbury campus. As part of the first phase of the Masterplan implementation, UCL allocated funding to improve the underground links to the Rockefeller Building and Medical School and to convert the Cruciform Library into a Medical Hub, incorporating project learning space.

The Cruciform Hub provides a new medical library hub within the lower ground floor of the Grade II listed Cruciform Building. The brief called for a welcoming and vibrant student hub, which provides exemplar student and academic orientated space conducive to learning, contemplation and collaboration. The project includes a library, study space, group workspaces, computer clusters and teaching / seminar rooms. Following extensive stakeholder consultations, an operational strategy has been developed that will enable new working methods and spatial aspirations to be achieved, whilst also accommodating higher-than-existing brief occupancy requirements during periods of peak demand.

Prior to the main project, part of the existing Library was used as a Pilot Project to test various spatial configurations and prototype group working furniture, to establish whether proposed modes of learning and study would be appropriate to way that medical students' work. Library Services collated student feedback and the comments received informed the final design solutions.

A suite of teaching / seminar rooms are provided which operate independently to the rest of the accommodation. These have been carefully arranged to enable these spaces to become an extension to and part of the Hub when they are not being used for teaching purposes, providing additional group workspace and/or study space.

What is the hub?

Located at the heart of the UCL Medical School in Bloomsbury, in the lower ground floor of the Cruciform building, the Hub will be easily accessible for UCL students and staff, as well as NHS staff working at UCLH. A striking new staircase, designed by Burwell Deakins Architects, will lead users directly from the entrance foyer to the Hub.

Two exhibition walls in the Hub will showcase some of UCL Museums & Collections medical artefacts together with medical illustrations and documents from UCL Special Collections. 

The development includes the following extensively remodelled features:

Library Accommodation:

  • New dedicated entrance and staircase
  • Reception/Service desk for 4 staffStaff office facilities for 6 staff
  • 5 no. Group Workspaces varying in size from 4 person to 14 person
  • Group Workspace / Informal Discussion Area for 52 people
  • Quiet Study Area for 113 people normal occupancy (181 peak occupancy)
  • Silent Study Area for 16 people
  • 600 linear meters of shelving for print collections
  • 2 no. glazed exhibition cases for medical exhibits
  • Short Loans Collection
  • Self-Issue / Print Station

Computer Cluster:

  • Large Computer Cluster for 50 people (100 with shared PCs)
  • Small Computer Cluster for 18 people (36 with shared PCs)

Teaching / Seminar:

  • 3 no. 18 person teaching / seminar rooms
  • 1 no. 10 person teaching / seminar rooms
  • 1 no. 6 person teaching / seminar rooms

Ensuring business as usual

In order to make way for the builders, the Cruciform Library, Computer Cluster and adjacent Seminar Rooms moved out of the Cruciform building temporarily, and the Cruciform book and periodical collections moved into the Science Library. In order to enable the Cruciform decant, the Management collection, located adjacent to Medical Science Periodicals moved to the Main Library until the Cruciform Hub opened. This enabled the Cruciform Library to be based in a dedicated space on the Science Library 2nd floor, with an adjacent office for the Cruciform staff. An added bonus included a temporary Enquiry Desk to support.

Although the project experienced some programme delays throughout the works regular communications were kept up-to-date for staff and students using the library services.