Cardiff Central Library

BDP, Cardiff, 2009


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  • Section    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • Third floor plan    
  • Fourth floor plan    
  • Fifth floor plan    
  • Sixth floor plan    
  • Roof plan    

New central library as part of a mixed use redevelopment scheme

Cardiff Central Library is a state-of-the-art building that enhances the existing range of public services available in the city centre. It creates an environment in which all members of the community 'can enjoy studying, learning, contemplation or relaxation'.

The client and council’s brief was to create a landmark building on a prominent site, symbolising the values of knowledge, learning and culture, and the national and international collections it would house.

The six storey building consists of 55,000m2 of library space with 16,000m2 of restaurants at ground level complementing the adjacent restaurant quarter.

The building consists of two interlocking elements; a transparent area defining the open plan library acting as a lantern, while the other has a solid appearance and houses cellular accommodation.

This area has an external skin of brass cladding inspired by the appearance of leather-bound books on shelves. The two elements are unified by a four storey atrium that provides passive ventilation and daylight, while the upper floors of the building create a new window on the skyline with dramatic views over the city.


  • Begun: 2007
  • Completed: 2009
  • Floor area: 6,900m2
  • Sectors: Civic, Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £18M
  • Address: The Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1FL , United Kingdom

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