‘Peckham Library’ by Will Alsop /// Peckham, London, 2000
Southwark Council wanted a building that would contribute to the regeneration of the area. The resulting design was such a success that people were sometimes surprised that it is simply a local library and not something grander. The pre-patinated copper, steel mesh and coloured glass, chosen for their vandal-deterring properties, give the building its sweetie-like appearance. Giant letters on the roof clearly announce its function as a library.
The building was Alsop and Störmer’s imaginative response to the original brief, which was: ‘to create a building of architectural merit that will bring prestige to the borough and a welcome psychological boost to the area. It should be a thoroughly modern building that is ahead of its time, but also one that does not alienate people by giving an appearance of elitism, strangeness or exclusivity. Local people must be able to relate to the architecture and design, as well as the services provided and they should feel pride in, affection for and ownership of the building’.