The refurbishment of the main Reading Room floor at the London Library represents the last element of the first £20m phase of re-development of the Library's overall master plan.
The rooms, centred around the new Sackler Study, provide a range of different environments to support the Library's evolving brief. The generous proportions of the Reading Room provide an airy formal space for quiet study and casual browsing. In contrast, the new Writers Room creates more of a working space, where laptops and tablets are prevalent.
A new gallery, hung from slim carbon steel rods, supports brass mesh backed shelving to provide 34 linear metres of book storage. New glass-fronted cabinets below the gallery display rare parts of the collection. The total reader desk capacity has increased from 48 to 75, with 6 new catalogue desks and a digital reader space provided in the Writers Room.
The bespoke furniture, crafted from European oak and patinated brass, responds to the specific functional and aesthetic criteria of each space, but is flexible enough to be re-arranged so that the rooms can host variety of events. Later Phases of the master plan will include a new roof-top Reading Room with external terrace and a new 3 storey book stack extension.
The London Library Reading and Writing Rooms
Address: 14 St James's Square, London
Completion Date: September 2013
Construction Cost: £850,000
Client: The London Library
Contractor: Rise Contracts
Structural Engineer: Price and Myers
Services Engineer: Max Fordham
Quantity Surveyor: Gardiner and Theobald
Lighting Design: Arup
Party Wall Surveyor: Anstey Horne
Approved Inspector: Butler & Young
RIBA National Award
RIBA London Regional Award
New London Award
AIA UK Excellence in Design Award