In 2007 Penoyre & Prasad completed an extension to the 1970s Portsmouth Library designed by ABK. In 2014 P&P carried out the refurbishment of the ground floor of the ABK library and the 2007 section, so that these two separate areas, one used mainly for functional book storage with the other filled with IT workstations, could become a Group Study Zone and a Social Learning Area for the University. Spatially, they combine to provide one continuous learning area to the whole ground floor, and increase the availability of space distributed with PCs and IT connectivity for the students.
The interior design exploited the renewal process; the suspended lighting tracks that obscured the generous double height spaces and mezzanine in the ABK building were removed and instead new perimeter uplighting and adjustable track down-lighting was added to reveal the original dramatic insitu concrete structure and the exposed steelwork and ductwork was painted a striking yellow. New shelving (with less books) organises the group study zone into faculty areas, supported by IT-supported furniture shaped to suit student collaboration, and a range of seating units, sofas and individual armchairs with styling and colours carefully chosen to complement the existing architectural qualities.
To allow for the increased student capacity and use of PCs, new cooling plant has been discreetly added to the ABK section, with fancoil units concealed in the mezzanine balustrade, and the external plant tucked away into a new acoustic enclosure, while the interior acoustic performance has been enhanced to suit the increased numbers of students by adding acoustic linings to columns that also conceal new data services, and a highly sound-absorbent carpet. To allow the students to use the Library for extensive periods of time a new servery and enlarged café area was incorporated into the Social Learning Area in the 2007 section of the library, making space for more areas for laptop users, group work and magazine display shelving and doubling the student use of the café.