Written by Andrew Houston Senior Project Lead

The Andrew Kean Learning Centre is a space dedicated to 21st-century learning, reflecting the University's ethos and aspirations as a centre of excellence.

Originally built in 2002, the Andrew Kean Learning Centre is used by staff, students, alumni and members of the community as a library and learning space. This project is a £4 million extension to incorporate group study space, teaching rooms, a bigger cafe and 24 hour lab.


  • Higher Education


Leeds Trinity University


Leeds, UK


Embracing the latest thinking in HE sector design (that spaces should be Flexible, Future-Proofed, Creative, Supportive and Enterprising), the AKLC is the culmination of a fully collaborative design process, creating a flexible and technologically agile learning resource environment. The brief emerged from a series of both formal engagement sessions and informal collaboration methods via the image sharing social network Pinterest. The brief called for a single point of entry that knits-together the library and new learning space. The solution was to remodel the existing entrance foyer into free-flowing node that welcomes its users. Generous circulation throughout creates a clear coherent strategy of open and interconnected spaces. A double height atrium space provides exceptional daylighting into the project’s social heart.

Go to Build


The construction responds sensitively to the steeply sloping site and prominence of the adjacent landmark library building. Its plan is a simple arrangement of three efficient rectilinear volumes, each one cranking in direct response to its surrounding constraints and context. A simple composition of brick, cladding, glass and projecting eaves combine to diminish the building’s presence upon the landscape.

Go to In-use

“The emphasis on learning means that we must also think about the learner. Learning spaces are not mere containers for a few, approved activities; instead, they provide environments for people.”

Brown. M and Long P.D, Trends in learning space design


The new Andrew Kean Learning Centre is a space dedicated to 21st learning, reflecting the University's ethos and aspirations as a centre of excellence. The space is acoustically intelligent, enabling students to gather in a social learning context without disrupting the general calm and quiet of the library. The collaborative process adopted throughout the life of this project signals to students, tutors and University staff that they can have control over their own learning – it is this collaborative essence of the project which underpins the success of new centre and provides an educational space to be enjoyed by all.

“From the early stages of the project, Jefferson Sheard worked closely with the University to build a deep understanding of our vision for learning and teaching.”

Mark Joyce, Director of Information Services

The Team

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