Studio Egret West
- Original design
- Studio Egret West, 2012
The 2017 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2018 programme in July.
Clapham Library opened its doors in June 2012 and completed the £80m Clapham One mixed-use regeneration scheme, which has transformed leisure services across two sites in Clapham Town Centre.
The Clapham One development has been delivered by PPP (Public Private Partnership) specialists Cathedral Group, working in partnership with United House and Lambeth Council. In addition to the new library, the scheme also provides a highly sustainable leisure centre, a new GP surgery and some of the most high quality residential accommodation in the borough including affordable housing, in partnership with Notting Hill Housing Group.
Lambeth Council provided the sites and in return Cathedral undertook to provide the new public facilities at no cost to the public purse but funded by the private sector apartments built above the library and adjacent to the leisure centre.
There are 136 private apartments in the Library Building with an additional 19 provided on the Leisure Centre site alongside 44 affordable homes split across a mix of tenures including social rented and intermediate accommodation.
The £6.5m, 19,000 sq ft public library, which was designed by the architects Studio Egret West, is located in the heart of Clapham on the High Street on the site of a former office block, Mary Seacole House. In addition to holding more than 20,000 books, it provides a stunning new performance space for local community groups, as well as modern meeting room facilities.
The library is housed in a 12-storey, mixed-use building, with the community uses focused on the ground floor and the Clapham High Street frontage, and the high quality residential apartments above.
The Library has been designed as a distinctive public building with a well-defined identity that sits underneath a discreet, private building of desirable homes above. The Library embodies an audacious spiral design of seamlessly connected spaces. The openness and flexibility of the central space allows it to be transformed into a performance area, where the open spiral ramp offers visitors a great view of any performance.
The spiral represents a path of seamless learning, which connects the multifunctional building in a way that has not been seen before. On entering, it is immediately apparent where all the various elements of the building are located with the ramp spiralling up towards the reading room and down towards the children's library.
The bookshelves follow the spiral of the ramp and face towards the open side of the ramp. This means that wherever you are standing, and especially from the entrance you will be able to see the main focus of the Library, the books.
Angular acoustic buffers hang down from the ceiling to reduce noise levels. At the bottom of the ramp, in the centre of the space and overlooked by the whole building, is the performance space which doubles as a reading area for the children's library in the daytime.
This configuration enhances the flexibility of the performance space. It can be used as a traditional theatre with rows of seating in the 'stalls' and the 'circle' along the ramp even provides an 'upper circle'.
The exterior of the building is designed to be elegant and unobtrusive. Although the form of the building is unique, the colouring has been kept purposefully low key. Cladding reinforces the form of the building, but also gives it a texture that will become more interesting the closer it is viewed.
The material employed is a white split-clad brick infused with quartz (sparkling Mica aggregate) for adding glistening qualities. The blocks are formed by breaking a single cast element into two sections, the broken (or split) face is unique to every block and has a three dimensional finish.
NLA Award (Best Community & Culture) 2012UK Property Awards(Best Mixed-Use, & Best Public Service) 2011Housing Project awards 2011Housing Awards 2010