Library designer reflects on landmark’s creation

The architect who oversaw the design and construction of the University’s Main Library is to offer unique insights into the building process.

Andrew Merrylees, who worked with the Spence Glover & Ferguson practice as the building took shape during the 1960s, is to give a talk on Thursday, 23 November.

Edinburgh’s Deputy Head of Special Collections, Rachel Hosker, will discuss the process with Mr Merrylees at an event on the Library’s sixth floor at 6pm.

There will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and a glass of wine afterwards to continue the conversations.

Landmark building

Opened in September 1967, the landmark building in George Square was the University’s second purpose-built library.

It was commissioned to replace the Playfair Library, sited in Old College, which no longer had the capacity to serve the expanding university.

Although the building was completed in 1967, the official opening took place in March the following year.

Few changes

The following decades saw a number of low-level changes to the building, most noticeably the re-siting of the service desk from the middle, to the rear of the concourse.

It is, however, testament to the quality of the design and building materials, that the Library required no significant  alterations until its refurbishment in the mid-2000s.

Many of its original fixtures and fixings remain, still serviceable and compatible with a 21st century library.

Archive footage

Watch an introduction to the Library from 1968