Sally and Edith in Europe

LIANZA Travelling Scholarship

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Peckham Library

The story

From the library’s  website”Peckham Library opened to the public on 8 March 2000.

The library was designed by Will Alsop from Alsop & Stormer and it received the 2000 Stirling Award for architectural innovation. It also won the Civic Trust Award (April 2002) for excellence in public architecture, along with the London Eye and Tate Modern. The vivid copper exterior also won it the 2001 Copper Cladding Award.

With nearly half a million visitors a year, it is the busiest of Southwark’s lending libraries and issued over 245,000 items in 2010/11.

The library was designed to be striking, to make people curious about what lies inside, and to challenge the traditional view of libraries as staid and serious environments.

… facilitate the regeneration of Peckham also covered the creation of new low-rise housing (a mixture of owner-occupied and social housing), Peckham Pulse healthy living centre, Peckham Square and Peckham Arch.’
The interior appears to have some interesting internal structures described below on the Archidose website

Three wood-clad pods are the most distinctive features of the library, housing the children’s library, and Afro-Caribbean literature center and a meeting space. These elements help to distinguish the library from other, more sterile designs that are prevalent. While this move may not have been justified at Britain’s new National Library, it is a commendable gesture in an area trying to improve itself. The unique design, coupled with the outdoor space it creates, will help to bring in people from all over London, extending the library’s reach and creating energetic (see positive) urban spaces.’

I will be very interesting to see if these structures have continued to be used as intended or have become a nice idea that looks amazing but doesn’t do much.  This happens sometimes as we all know and it has been 12 years since opening so checking in on refurbishment will be of interest.

I have been trying to make contact with Peckham library’s ‘interior photograph’ liaison dude or someone else in the place for some weeks with no luck so I am not sure how this visit will go.    However, seeing who this impressive building works in its environment and how it enhances the lives of a ‘less desirable’ neighbourhood is dear to my heart.