Building on Excellence
Project Datasheet

Douai Abbey Library



Hidden in the West Berkshire countryside, Douai Abbey is home to a community of monks of the English Benedictine Congregation.

Until completion of the new library, including 10km of shelving, the Abbey had no suitable accommodation for its collection of important historical books, manuscripts, archives and portraits - nor adequate facilities for monks and guests to undertake study and research.

The library, was opened by the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and was carefully designed to blend with the existing monastic buildings. The envelope is constructed from a combination of stone, stack-bonded facing bricks, stainless steel cladding and oak. It is connected to the Abbey Church and North Accommodation Block by cloisters. Behind the envelope is a concrete mass structure designed to help regulate internal temperature (augmented by a ground source heat pump) and sophisticated ventilation system to control the air moisture content, which is so critical to the safe storage of the archives.

The library now houses over 100,000 books and includes a number of specialist collections. The new facilities allows the books and archives to be kept in optimal conditions for both access and long-term preservation.


Douai Abbey


David Richmond Partners




44 weeks


2011 Civic Trust Award Winners
2012 RIBA South Award Winners