British Library Centre for Conservation


The Design Quality Indicator (DQI) was used to define stakeholder priorities and aspirations and to measure benchmarks of quality through the design development of the British Library Centre for Conservation.

The British Library Centre for Conservation was developed to provide purpose-built facilities for the conservation of books and dedicated facilities for the library's sound archive, designed by Long and Kentish.

The centre is an extension to the existing library by St Pancras station in central London. The brief for the building was challenging as it accommodates both the conservation and the sound archive departments, with very different specialist requirements.

The Design Quality Indicator (DQI) was used as part of the design process as a way to engage end users in a structured conversation.  This included understanding their specialist requirements for the building at the briefing stage and testing whether their aspirations were met during the design development.

How the Design Quality Indicator (DQI) assessment helped

  • started a conversation between specialist departments about their differing needs
  • helped to develop of a shared vision for the whole project
  • started a dialogue between design professionals and end users
  • facilitated periodic testing of original end-user aspirations
  • enabled a comparative assessment of demand and supply side assessments.