Renovation and reorganisation of the library's collection of buildings in order to clarify patterns of use, and increase available capacity
Over 114 years, the expanding London Library had become a labyrinth of conjoined buildings occupying a corner of St. James's Square. The restoration has brought clarity to the institution.
The design proposal aimed to meet the demands of the Library’s growth by increasing capacity whilst reformulating circulation through the addition of a lift, stairs and a new member’s entrance from Mason’s Yard. The redevelopment also provides 42 additional reader spaces, 1.25km of shelving and a conservation studio.
Central to the scheme is the creation of a four-storey high glass-roofed reading room from a previously blocked Victorian light-well. This reading room is furnished with bespoke fixtures: oak desks, chairs and light fittings that have been specified to reference the library’s existing furniture but with a contemporary feel.
The London Library, founded by Thomas Carlyle in 1841, is the world’s largest independent lending library, with over 1,000,000 books and 8,000 members.
- Begun: Aug 2008
- Completed: Jul 2010
- Floor area: 1,987m2
- Sectors: Arts and culture, Civic, Education
- Total cost: £6.9M
- Procurement: Construction management
- Address: 14 St. James's Square, London, SW1Y 4LG, United Kingdom