This award-winning community library replaced an existing facility within a deprived area of Ipswich. The intention was for the library to act as a catalyst to raise the aspirations of local residents.

The brief

This project aimed to invigorate the existing 1930s library, with emphasis on community involvement. We produced options for refurbishing or a new-build; the community unanimously voted in favour of the latter.

Our response

The unusual form and complex geometry of the building was generated by the client’s intended management procedures. One wing of the building contains the library and the other the community facilities, including café, exhibition space and digital music studio. These wings are brought together by a dramatic circular entrance drum.

These stimulating and dynamic spaces reflect the community’s desires and aspirations, which were established through consultations.

Key facts

  • We consulted widely with the community.
  • Since opening, the library has proven very popular, with dozens of new people joining every day.
  • We achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating (the target was Very Good).

Project Information

Client: Suffolk County Council

Value: £1.1m