Bringing collaborative creative spaces into a listed library.

An animation showing the brief.
Year Completed
RIBA Work Stage
  • Architect
This project was started by two teachers who had a strong desire to bring the philosophy of the school art room to a local community. Their vision was for a space where people could drop in and work on some art informally, building a community of people participating in art.

They were already running sessions from a local library, but had no space of their own but identified that the disused first floor presented the ideal opportunity for a permanent home for them there. APEC was commissioned to undertake a feasibility study to create shared and collaborative spaces within the listed library building. The brief was to include some separate rooms for resident artists too as well as space for courses or one-off sessions. 

The APEC team started with exploring what the ideal brief would look like, in terms of the types and sizes of activities and specialist equipment. We researched best practice for art rooms in schools, museums and libraries to specialist arts studios and workshops.

We were then able to review what elements of the brief could be achieved in the library, in various configurations. We explored how the spaces could be flexible and accessible, and proposed interventions that are sensitive to the historic fabric. At at time when keeping libraries open is under threat, the opportunity for an additional use of the building provides a stronger case for their sustainability.

The Preferred Options

A visualisation of the ideal floor plan for the ground floor.