west norwood library & picturehouse

Location: London
Client: Picturehouse Cinemas Ltd
Status: Completed 2018

Theft of copper roof initiated the project
The West Norwood Library was forced to relocate from its purpose-built space in 2012 due to the theft of its roof finish and the subsequent discovery of asbestos. To help fund the extensive repairs required, Lambeth council engaged Picturehouse Cinemas to deliver a truly unique facility – a refurbished library alongside a four screen cinema and café.

Seemless reuse and extension
The existing character and major spatial arrangements are largely retained and inform a new extension, defined by a staggered set of sloping roofs that cantilever to form generous canopies over the pavement. An enlarged entrance lobby and café open up views between the library, courtyard and café, while three new box framed windows provide views onto the street.

Establishing a civic presence
While respectful of the original design, the design allows a previously inward looking building to reengage with the street and its context. The internal layout enhances this further by envisioning new ways for the public to interact with the library and creating opportunities for cross programme between the library and cinema. The project helped earn Panter Hudspith the Architect of the Year Award (sports and leisure) in 2016. It is schedule to complete in 2018.

AJ Online - Panter Hudspith wins go-ahead for new south London cinema
FX Magazine - Client file: Picturehouse Cinemas
2016 Architect of the Year Award - Winner (Sports and Leisure)
illustrative site plan
views of the library and hall building prior to redevelopment - underused and uncared for
visual of library & cinema entrance with timber slatted ceiling and refurbished brickwork
diagram of section through the library shows the courtyard garden
the octagonal auditorium becomes the main screen providing a unique cinema experience
genuine reuse in action - site photo