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Exclusive: RSHP lands £1 billion British Library extension

British Library drawing

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has been chosen, following a developer-led competition, to expand the British Library in central London

The AJ understands the practice is part of a team led by Stanhope that has been selected for the estimated £1 billion development on land north of the Grade I-listed library next to PLP and HOK’s new Francis Crick Institute.

Eric Parry Architects and Make featured on rival developer-led consortia shortlisted for the prestigious project, which is planned to complete by 2023 – in time for the library’s 50th anniversary.

Dubbed ‘Building the Future’, the scheme will create new gallery spaces, events spaces, a public entrance on Midland Road and a headquarters for the Alan Turing Institute. A new science hub with about 65,000m² of commercial development space will also be delivered.

The library expansion follows the success of the library’s exhibitions programme and a massive growth in reader numbers, which has seen public areas oversubscribed.

Interviews to select a commercial operator and architect for the deal to lease, design, build and operate the new wing were held last year.

Designed by Colin St John Wilson and MJ Long, the landmark building on Euston Road was awarded the highest level of statutory listing one year ago.



British Library expansion project site

A spokesman for the British Library declined to confirm the appointment but said in a statement: ‘As part of our Living Knowledge strategic vision to 2023, the British Library has ambitious plans to expand and develop our site at St Pancras.

‘Over the past year we have undergone a competitive dialogue procurement process to select a commercial development partner to help realise our plans, which will deliver additional research, learning and gallery spaces, and will transform our capacity to anticipate and meet the needs of our growing number of users.

‘The British Library Board has selected its preferred development partner and we expect to make an announcement in early 2017, to be followed by a period of close consultation with our local community and other stakeholders.’

Ground floor plan british library

View drawings, plans and data of the British Library in the AJ Buildings Library



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Readers' comments (2)

  • Chris Rogers

    Shame that various governments etc successively and - ultimately - definitively spiled the full expansion planned in St John Wilson's original scheme, as that 2.8 acres is all the BL has left to play with. Interested that the v/o mentions tunring the piazza into a lively oasis ect - that is exactly what SJW intended, but I've never seen much evidence of it, even in the summer. Perhaps it's just too hostile a location?

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  • the euston road would be better pedestrianised of course, and Signore Rogers ideas for the national gallery back in 1985 were by far the best. But if you are referring to somers town, of course that is being socially cleansed by duggan morris, so those working class locals will be gone soon. There is some other mad scheme to link st pancras to euston below ground. This deal is obviously PFI in nature, and the sharks would want the highest financially endowed architects possible, which would exclude Parry and Make (insufficient ’financial track record’ no doubt). So the hackneyed Signore, grand author of Blair’s urban report of 1998 still gathering dust, gets to intervene yet again more than forty years after he poohed on paris, when Les Halles was shut down - arguably the most savage social cleansing of paris in modern times.

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