after being shortlisted as part of the competition for the southmere village library in londonreiulf ramstad architects has now presented its proposed scheme. as well as offering a new state-of-the-art library, the project seeks to create a new focal point that meets the ambitions of the thamesmead redevelopment. the studio proposes a library that embraces and celebrates its waterside site. a strong, formal, stepped plan of equal ‘strips’ that expand from the singular main entrance hall to a deeper plan at the water’s edge. the stepped plan maximizes the footprint between the two squares, avoiding the culvert and allowing for an uninterrupted natural line-of-sight to extend from the civic square entrance, through the building across the lake beyond.

the studio proposes a library that embraces and celebrates its waterside site
all images © reiulf ramstad architectsplaces studio



while the first floor simply repeats the ground plan, open light wells between the storeys allow the architectural experience of each ‘strip’ to be exploited by the continuous open pitched-roof ceilings. the discipline this created was carried through to the external treatment to create a rigorous building form. back of house functions are located on the south side of the building so that public facing activities could exploit framed views to the north. meanwhile, the line of water was brought to the threshold of the building in a series of shallow mirror pools that would engender the feeling of a library in a lake as well providing a defensive edge for the glazing. the children’s area is located in a single storey extension at the south-eastern end of the building with a roof terrace above screened to protect views towards staplehurst court.

designboom reiulf ramstad architects southmere village library competition london
light wells allow each ‘strip’ to be exploited by the open pitched-roof ceilings



the studio intends to combine its respect for the spirit of the southmere masterplan with the rich cultural history of london’s waterside developments. the elegant plans that were naturally flexible, clear and easily manageable, were complimented with a vision of finishes, both internal and external, that were identified as potential sources for artistic involvement. in doing so, the team had sought to activate the robust exterior with warm and welcoming interiors.

designboom reiulf ramstad architects southmere village library competition london 
the team had sought to activate the robust exterior with warm and welcoming interiors

designboom reiulf ramstad architects southmere village library competition london 
a concept sketch of the proposed library



project info:


name: the southmere village library
type: culture, public
location: london, united kingdom
program: library
client: peabody
commission type: invited competition
status: competition proposal
photo credits: reiulf ramstad arkitekter, places studio 

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