Peckham Library


Completion 2000

Size 2,300 m2

Awards 2001 AIA London Chapter Design Award for Best Building / 2001 Civic Trust Award / 2001 BCIA Award /

2000 RIBA Stirling Prize, Building of the Year

Alsop & Stormer

Peckham Library won Britain’s most celebrated architectural award, the RIBA Stirling Prize, in November 2000.

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 local people. Will Alsop created a building of unique appearance which satisfied these criteria, comprising innovatory solutions to design problems; creating working, archive and meeting spaces of genuine delight and as a stimulating appearance.

Suspending the main reading room on a cantilevered plane allowed the creation of a new public space below the soffit. Within this are, ‘pods’ contain meeting rooms and independent collections, with workstations clustered below.

The brief included a children’s library and a range of adult learning facilities. The central pod opens to the clerestory, allowing daylight into the main space while the ‘beret’ over the roof affords shade. The library was conceived with sustainability in mind and has natural lighting and ventilation systems which significantly diminish the building’s energy requirements.

Jacob Dix