Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to craft major British Library expansion

Architecture studio Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) have been commissioned to design a major extension to the British Library in London.

The design team will build 100,000sq ft (9,300sq m) of new spaces on a 2.8 acre site to the north of the library’s Grade 1 Listed building at St Pancras.

Their design will include facilities for learning, exhibitions and public use, in addition to a new northern entrance and a bespoke headquarters for the Alan Turing Institute, the national centre for data science research.

Organisations and companies that wish to be located at the heart of London's Knowledge Quarter will be invited to occupy new commercial space incorporated into RSH+P’s extension, which has close links with King's Cross and St Pancras stations and the Francis Crick Institute.

The British Library project – described as “a major new centre for commerce, knowledge and research” – is being developed with property firm Stanhope, who recently completed work on Herzog and de Meuron’s acclaimed extension of the Tate Modern art museum.

RSHP have worked on numerous high-profile cultural projects, including the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the World Conservation and Exhibition Centre extension to the British Museum and the forthcoming International Spy Museum in Washington DC.

Senior partner Graham Stirk, who is design lead on the new project, said the practice is “very proud to be involved in assisting the British Library to achieve its vision to create a more open and accessible campus that will maintain its prominence for the future.

"We look forward to working as part of a wider team to support and enhance the library’s position within this exciting and evolving international centre of knowledge in the heart of London," he added.

The British Library’s collection includes well over 150 million items, in most known languages, with three million new items added every year. Among its collection is the Magna Carta, original manuscripts by authors Jane Austen and James Joyce, the first written rules of association football and over four million maps.

The library’s current home was originally designed by architect Sir Colin St John Wilson and his partner MJ Long between 1982 and 1999. With a total floor area of over 1.2 million sq ft (112,000sq m) spread over 14 floors, it was the largest UK public building to be built in the 20th century. It was awarded Grade I listed building status in August 2015.

The United Kingdom’s minister for culture, media and sport, Karen Bradley, said: “The British Library is one of our finest cultural institutions, housing an unparalleled collection of knowledge. The innovative [extension] project will increase access to the Library’s first-class collections, providing new exhibition spaces, learning opportunities and facilities for visitors from Britain and around the world to enjoy.”

RSHP founder Richard Rogers recently told CLAD that the studio enjoyed working on leisure projects and defending the public domain because "public spaces are at the very root of democracy, and architecture is about democracy."

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners  British Library  London  St Pancras  Richard Rogers  Graham Stirk  Karen Bradley  architecture  design 
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FEATURE: CLAD people – Richard Rogers

Architecture studio Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) have been commissioned to design a major extension to the British Library in London. The design team will build 100,000sq ft (9,300sq m) of new spaces on a 2.8 acre site to the north of the library’s Grade 1 Listed building at St Pancras. Their design will include facilities for learning, exhibitions and public use, in addition to a new northern entrance
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The library’s current home was originally designed by architect Sir Colin St John Wilson and his partner MJ Long between 1982 and 1999 / Tony Antoniou
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