A flagship regeneration project for the Borough of Southwark in South London. The brief called for a building of architectural merit which would bring prestige to the borough and engender a sense of ownership and pride for the building by local people. Alsop Architects created a building of unique appearance which satisfied both criteria, comprising innovatory solutions to design problems, creating working, archive and meeting spaces of genuine delight and stimulating appearance. Suspending the main reading room on a cantilevered allowed the creation of a new public space below the soffit. Within this room, “pods” contain meeting rooms and independent collections, with workstations clustered below. The centre pod opens to the clerestory, allowing daylight to enter the main space while the “beret” above affords shade. The library was conceived with sustainability in mind and has natural lighting and ventilation systems which significantly diminish both demands on energy resources and running costs.
Peckham Library won Britain’s most celebrated architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in November 2000.
Contributed by Will Alsop for Alsop Architects, part of the Archial Group
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