Canada Water Library

Location Southwark, London
Client London Borough of Southwark
Content 3,000m² Library, Performance Space and Café
Status Built

2016 London Planning Award, Shortlist
2012 Civic Trust Award, Winner
2012 Goldwin Selwyn Award, Winner
2012 NLA Award, Shortlist
2012 RIBA Award, Winner
2012 RICS Award, Shortlist

The building celebrates its brilliant location on a new public square, next to a bus and tube station and overlooking Canada Water basin. The library is an indoor public space open to everyone, where you find wonderful things you weren’t necessarily looking for. It is a futuristic treasure box of possibilities.

Piers Gough, Director, CZWG Architects

The idea of a free standing object in space is quite appropriate for a library, since it is a portal to the discovery of other worlds. As a piece of sculpture, this project binds together a tube station, a stretch of open water and a plaza; and makes the precursor landmark of a substantial new development on London’s Canada Water. The inverted pyramid form contains a readily accessible café, performance space, internet points and popular books within the small footprint at ground level, whilst the main library is contained within the single, galleried, skylit double volume expanding space above.

Large window openings give the building a civic scale. The whole is clad in aluminium sheets, anodised a light bronze with sequined perforations, a finish which mimics the ruffled waters of the basin.

The building has attracted 400,000 people a year since opening and lent its millionth book after just 3 years.