Lambeth Palace Library reaches practical completion

3 August 2020

The new purpose-built Lambeth Palace Library, which we worked on alongside Wright and Wright Architects, has reached practical completion. We provided environmental engineering, acoustic consultancy and BREEAM assessment for the 5,400 m² project, which is a significant new addition to London’s civic architecture.

Lambeth Palace Library is the first new building on the site for 185 years and will host the Church of England’s archive – the most important collection of religious books, manuscripts and archives in Europe, after the Vatican. A period of acclimatisation and phased transfer of the collection will follow, with the official opening anticipated to be in early 2021.

Designed to increase public accessibility to the library, the new red brick building features four and five-storey wings, rising to a nine-storey central tower, crowned by a viewing platform, further animating the Palace’s skyline to the river and screening its garden from traffic noise and pollution.

Lambeth Palace Library, Street View

The Library’s facilities include a public reading room, a group working area and seminar rooms, plus the upper room and roof terrace, which delivers flexible event space with seating for up to 70 people. In  addition, it houses a specialist conservation studio to accommodate up to eight full-time conservators, and office space for up to 30 Library staff. All public spaces and the reading room benefit from carefully attuned natural light  and provide curated views across the Palace gardens.

The library layout is designed to minimise the building’s footprint on the grounds and enhance the local ecology of the gardens, accommodating a new and enlarged pond and wetland glade.

By animating and uplifting the public realm at street level, people are instinctively attracted towards the site with glimpses of the Archbishop’s garden and exhibition space visible through the entrance. As the Palace is sited on one of London’s many flood plains, the archive repositories are located above any potential flood risk.

The project has been awarded a BREEAM Excellent rating.