British Library Extension

Working alongside RSHP on the extension of the British Library, the newly designed public realm will redefine the campus’ relationship with both the local Somers Town community and the wider city.

Our design process involved holistic analysis of the role of the British Library campus across a range of spatial and time-related scales.

Pedestrian movement patterns and microclimatic conditions were mapped to inform a landscape of ‘activity cells’. Set within a network of paths and open spaces, each cell is designed to have an individual character, inviting a diverse range of uses. The public spaces of the Library’s extension also include its foyer, organised around similarly conceptualised ‘activity cells’, and the courtyard space, framed by a new curved façade.

Such design elements establish a dialogue with the architecture of the Grade II Listed Library and blur the threshold between building and landscape so that interior and exterior public space is considered within the same, unified concept. It is a design rooted in social, material and aesthetic integration, and thus entirely befitting of this cherished national institution.

Landscape and Urban Analysis: DSDHA
Architect: RSHP
Multidisciplinary Consultant: ARUP
Planning Consultant: Gerald Eve
Townscape Consultant: Tavernor Consultancy
Heritage Consultant: Cordula Zeidler
Communications Consultant: LCA
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