RIBA Regional Awards 2014: North West
Liverpool Central Library
Austin-Smith:Lord LLP for Liverpool City Council
Contract £50m. GIA 12,012m2
Overseeing the removal of 20th century additions to post-1860 civic buildings on William Brown Street in the historic St George’s quarter of the city, Austin-Smith:Lord at the same time inserted a new library building behind the listed facade. The new spaces exhibit clear organisation set around a central atrium. One of the biggest changes has been making the library’s old Picton Reading Room, Hornby Room and Oak Room fully accessible and linked back to the main central atrium space of the new library. All these rooms have been restored to their former glory and are key to the new library’s spaces.
Beneath the Picton Reading Room, the Picton Library has been opened to the public for the first time, providing young readers with a dedicated space that justifies not just the increased enrolments at the library, but the fact that it has become a visitor attraction in its own right.