OMI Architects has been chosen to regenerate Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, Flintshire
The Manchester-based studio saw off competition from AOC, Austin-Smith:Lord, Donald Insall Associates, Purcell and Shepherd Epstein Hunter to land the £4 million project.
Planned to complete in 2020, the scheme will remodel the Grade I-listed 1902 English Gothic structure and create a new extension. The practice is working with Alan Gardner Associates, Headland Design, Hoare Lea, Camlin Lonsdale, DP Squared and Poole Dick Associates on the proposals.
OMI Architects director Andy James said: ‘We’re delighted to have been selected for this prestigious project at a key moment in the history of the library.
‘The opportunity of developing our initial ideas with the Gladstone’s Living Heritage team, to further enhance the enduring legacy of William Gladstone, is one that we are very proud of.’
Library warden Peter Francis added: ‘We live in an age when there is widespread indifference to and disillusionment with the political process, declining church attendance, and increasing commercialisation of popular culture.
People are hungry for meaningful change and cultural nourishment
‘At the same time, I find people are hungry for meaningful change and cultural or spiritual nourishment. The Gladstone’s Living Heritage Project is committed to engaging with these questions and the search for new answers.’
Designed by John Douglas, the Flintshire landmark houses the personal book collection of William Ewart Gladstone.
The project will deliver a new Forum events area for debates, an exhibition exploring Gladstone’s legacy, an informal learning space, three large seminar rooms and two therapy rooms.
A 100-capacity bistro restaurant, café, toilets, gift shop, foyer, reception area, staff room and offices will also be created alongside improved car parking, landscaping additional bedrooms for visitors.
First elected to parliament in 1838, Gladstone served four terms as a Liberal prime minister and played a key role in Victorian-era electoral reform.
The Flintshire victory comes just months after OMI Architects was selected for another major Heritage Lottery Funded scheme - the £3million revamp of the grade II-listed former Carnegie Library at Tuebrook, Liverpool.
The scheme will see the dilapidated building transformed into a new community hub ‘offering childcare, rentable meeting space, hot desking, heritage activities, an events venue and a wide range of training and volunteering opportunities for local people’.
The practice plans to submit the project for Heritage Lottery Fund Stage II approval early next year (2016) with a scheduled start on site in 2017.