Our Clapham Library Building was opened to the public on Monday and reviewed in today’s Evening Standard. Keiran Long, a fine discerning journalist, said “The Library Building is quite simply an astonishing addition to the High Street.”
Kieran’s article highlights how Studio Egret West have created a building complex with an amalgam of uses, and also a deft commercial proposition from the developer Cathedral Group.
The library is oval in plan, with a continuous ramp, lined with 20,000 books, winding around a 10m-high central atrium. The ramp brings you up or down from the entrance to various meeting and reading rooms on the perimeter of the oval. In its centre, and at the bottom of the spiral, is the children’s library, which doubles as a community hall and venue for events, concerts, parties and any number of other activities, and is the focus of the institution.
“Putting the children’s library at the heart of the plan clearly states the priority here: it is a contribution to Clapham High Street that is not about the night-time economy but carves a safe and fun place for parents to go with young children.”
“There are high-quality materials and a lot of care has gone into making something more than a mere book store in a shopfront. If the future of public facilities is to be paid for by stacking up housing in expensive London locations, then the Library Building shows that the public functions do not need to be the poor relation of private housing.”