Finalists included Adam Khan and Architecture 00
Bisset Adams has won a competition to design a library as part of Peabody’s £1.5 billion redevelopment of Thamesmead.
The practice beat a shortlist of emerging and established practices including Architecture 00, Adam Khan, Keith Williams and Norwegian practice Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter.
The winner was picked after a two-week consultation with local people who will also be involved as Bisset Adams works as part of the Southmere village design team, led by Proctor and Matthews architects, to develop a detailed design for the library building and submit it to Bexley council for planning permission.
Standing on the edge of Southmere Lake close to a new Crossrail station, the library will be integrated into the Abbey Wood and South Thamesmead housing zone where Peabody has outline planning permission for 1,600 new homes.
As well as a library it will contain learning spaces and have the potential to accommodate other civic functions, including learning, health and wellbeing spaces.
It is intended to complement the re-opened Lakeside Centre on the other side of the lake where Peabody is working with Bow Arts to create an enterprise kitchen and artist space for people working in the creative industries.
John Lewis, Peabody executive director for Thamesmead, thanked all the practices that entered.
“We had some really good, thoughtful concepts from a wide variety of firms,” he said.
Judge John Whiles, founding director of Jestico & Whiles, said: “From the short-listing of teams to participate in the design phase and now the selection of Bisset Adams as the winners, this competition has been a rewarding and challenging process, made all the more interesting by Peabody’s commitment to community involvement in the project. Bisset Adams’ winning scheme is clearly an exciting start to the development of an iconic, flexible library and community facility both for and with the residents of the new Thamesmead.”
Bisset Adams director Iain Johnston said they were excited to win because they were “passionate about libraries and the important role they play in community life”.
He said: “It’s a great opportunity to design a library at the heart of the Southmere Village regeneration project and extra special to have a site right on the edge of the lake.
“We wanted to create a design which tells a story about the lake and the environment. It’s a truly sustainable structure constructed from CLT timber, which is left exposed to create a warm interior environment.
“We also wanted it to be fun. The concept was inspired by the swans nesting by the lakeside. We used the pattern of a swan’s nest as a texture for the perforated cladding of the cantilevered upper box which faces out to the lake and created a bed of reeds for screening the children’s library from the main space. We hope it will be a very special place to learn, browse and study.”
The scheme is targeting planning in the spring and could complete in summer 2021.
• John Lewis (executive director for Thamesmead, Peabody)
• Judith Mitlin (head of libraries, Bexley council)
• Andrew Matthews (partner, Proctor & Matthews Architects)
• John Whiles (partner, Jestico & Whiles Architects)
• Doreen Lawrence (Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust)