Peckham Library, London

Will Alsop
Date Built
Opened May 2000
Peckham Hill Street, Peckham, London
The Southwark Council website describes the Peckham Library as, " ... the busiest of Southwark's lending libraries and (it) issued over 245,000 items in 2010/11."  They add that it 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."  Will Alsop's design was based on a brief that, "seeks to redefine the role of the library in the local community."  The practice's website explains that, "Traditionally, a library is conceived as a 'serious' building, but for Alsop seriousness of purpose does not preclude either high style or wit. The practice habitually elevates its buildings above ground level, so that users connect with sky and views and the building itself, whatever its function, gains in presence. A by-product of this strategy is that buildings gain a 'sixth facade' -- an underbelly which can form the cover for a public space at ground level."  The L-shaped building is supported by a series of concrete-filled steel columns.  It features prepatinated copper cladding on the front and a colourful glass back wall.

The library was awarded the 2000 Stirling Award for architectural innovation and the Civic Trust Award for excellence in public architecture.