Holborn Library


Camden, London


Studio Egret West’s proposal for the redevelopment of the Holborn Library will provide a new library facility for Camden, new flexible studios for Cockpit Arts, a new street cleaning depot and 96 homes at the heart of the Bloomsbury Conservation area.

Completed in 1960, the existing Holborn Library Building is retained and adapted to accommodate a smaller, more focused library and Local Studies facility. A cut in the exiting ground floor is proposed to create a three storey void which enables the many different function of the library to overlap and intersect; more attuned to the modern flexible nature of a public library.  The interiors are remodelled to enhance the existing features and re-instate those since its conception.

Inspired by the tessellated graphic forms found throughout the building, the main library façade is remodelled to create double height glazing to the street frontage that improves visual connectivity into the library and enhances its’ public presence on Theobolds Road.

Cockpit Arts, an award winning creative business incubator for designer-makers, have a long history as tenants on site and provide an important use to the library’s redevelopment. A new interior ‘yard’ is proposed which will incorporate an amazing variety of courtyards, flexible studio spaces and communal areas, while also offering flexibility for the future adaptation of the space to create any number of studio configurations. 

An existing shop front along Theobolds Road is transformed into an exhibition and showcasing space for and provides a welcoming and publically facing entrance for Cockpit Arts on this important street frontage.

The homes are designed as an integral part of this mixed use development, sharing in and contributing to the overall character of the cluster of new buildings.  The dwellings themselves are located across the buildings, mixed vertically and horizontally with the library and arts uses. The new library shares the building with new homes, Cockpit Yard becomes a dynamic multi-layered street with homes co-habiting the street with artists’ studios while a variety of building forms and materials and interjecting into John’s Mews to enhance its character as a diverse London Mews Street.