Augustine House

New library and student services centre for Canterbury Christ Church University

Following a competition-winning entry, Yat designed and delivered the new flagship building for Canterbury Christ Church University in Canterbury, Kent, as the project architect of architectural practice ADP. Completed in 2009, Augustine House has become a major focal point for the University and a catalyst for the regeneration of the Rhodaus Town area of Canterbury.

A modern building for a historic city.

The design of Augustine House respects the city’s historic context and enhances the site’s immediate surroundings. The four-storey building is arranged in two blocks on either side of a central atrium to reduce its scale and to allow pedestrian access straight through the building. The blocks are offset to align with adjacent buildings and to maintain a continuous street frontage. Diagonal slots are then cut into the building to create internal voids and stunning views from Augustine House towards Canterbury Cathedral and the city walls, making visual and symbolic connections to the city.

Simplicity on the outside.

Externally, Augustine House takes on a simple palette of materials, inspired by the range of colours and lustre of flint blocks that make up the Canterbury city walls directly opposite. During the day, it simply reflects the city walls and the greenery beyond, complementing the historic surroundings. At night, the building is transformed into a shimmering glass box showcasing a hive of activity inside.

Light, flexible and connected.

Internally, Augustine House combines four stories of flexible and adaptable spaces containing library shelving, reading areas, group study rooms, student support services, staff offices and cafés. These spaces are arranged in two blocks on either side of a 100-metre long fully glazed central atrium with monumental lightless and scale similar to that of the grand nave of the world-famous Canterbury Cathedral.

The geometry is further reinforced by a series of diagonal link bridges physically connecting the two wings at strategic locations and leading building users towards the stunning views of Canterbury Cathedral and the city walls.

A building with a dynamic heart.

We think the atrium should be the dynamic heart of the building instead of a sterile space full of corridors. So we’ve put in walkways, meeting spaces, group study rooms, art installations, roof gardens, cafes and even a 400-seat multi-purpose hall along the central circulation spine to create a buzzling heart for the building!


Big impact on the users, not the environment.

Located on a brownfield site close to excellent public transport links, Augustine House utilises geothermal heat pumps integrated with some 250 reinforced concrete piles to generate sustainable and renewable energy. This reduces the building’s carbon footprint, earning it a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating. It was also awarded the Best Educational Project by the LABC Building Excellence Award in 2010 and the prestigious SCONUL Library Design Awards in 2013!


Location: Canterbury, Kent, UK

Construction Value: £28,000,000

Gross Area: 12,500m²

Client: Canterbury Christ Church University

Type: Education

Status: Completed 2009

Awards: LABC Building Excellence Award 2010, SCONUL Library Design Award 2013


Architect: ADP LLP

Photography: Peter Cook