Old Library & Art Gallery, Royal Leamington Spa, UK

 J. Mitchell Bottomley and A.C.Bunch
Date Built
Avenue Road
This building on Avenue Road in Leamington Spa, started life as the town's technical and art school, library and art gallery.  The Grade II Listed Building is described as featuring, "Red, English bond brick with terracotta dressings and a slate roof and (on the art gallery) plum-coloured, Flemish bond brick with sandstone dressings and a lead roof with skylights. .....

.... The college and library have a symmetrical street façade with a central deep segmental porch of terracotta supported on brackets. Within are double, half-glazed doors with a fanlight and a small window to the porter's lodge. ....

.... The art gallery is of one storey and cruciform. ....

.... The art gallery extension is joined to the college/library at the east end. The external walls are blank and divided into panels by Tuscan pilasters with ashlar capitals, entablature and blocking course. The ends of the 3 wings have pedimental gables with stone niches at their centres, that to the south holding a figurative sculpture. The east end has a louvred oculus to the tympanum. The doorway, at west of the south wall, has panelled double doors and applied ashlar Tuscan columns to either side with a segmental pediment."

In 2015, when these images were taken, the building had been converted into a series of luxury apartments.  This project involved the restoration of The Old Library to its former glory and earned the architects the Architects' Journal's Retrofit Award in 2014.  The judges said of the work that it represented a, "... Sensitive dialogue between new and existing materials. Respectful reuse with renewables incorporated as part of the architectural composition."

TateHindle, the architects responsible for the retrofit, explain that, "... The Old Library has been converted into 29 high-end residential flats and the adjacent former Art Gallery will be redeveloped as a luxury single family dwelling. The gallery will be completed in summer 2014.  .... TateHindle’s design has blended original Victorian features and character with crisp, modern interior design, incorporating multi-level living spaces and ample room for the latest technology, modern appliances and energy efficiency.  An expansive, open-air communal courtyard within The Old Library has been created in place of the original library’s large glass enclosed atrium, allowing considerable daylight into the apartments, as well as a tranquil area for residents to relax on sunny days."