AR MIPIM Future Project Award, Old and New

Lambeth Palace Library, London | Wright & Wright Architects

Clad in red clay bricks, the new Lambeth Palace Library and Archive in the grounds of the north end of Lambeth Palace gardens is elevated above any potential flooding from the adjacent Thames river. With its compact tower and public viewing platform, it also screens this part of the garden from pollution and traffic noise from the adjoining road. Lambeth Palace’s collection is, apart from the Vatican’s, the largest archive of religious books and manuscripts in Europe. But the way it is housed in the historic Grade I listed palace does not measure up to modern standards of archival care. 

The new building  sits across the great lawn remote from the old buildings which form the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It takes the form of an occupied wall which rises to a tower. Beyond its practical role as a finely tuned repository for protecting and preserving the collection, the library is conceived as a welcoming and peaceful place for study and contemplation. At the top of the library tower, the multifunctional public viewing space allows direct views across the river Thames to the UK parliamentary building – the Palace of Westminster.

Source: Architectural Review