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OMI wins planning to convert Liverpool's abandoned Carnegie Library

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OMI Architects has won planning to transform a disused Grade II-listed library into a new Carnegie Community Hub in Tuebrook, Liverpool

Planned to complete in 2018, the £3 million project will restore the decaying structure which opened to the public in 1905 and closed just over a century later.

Donated by Scottish American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the Lister Drive library was designed by Liverpool city surveyor Thomas Shelmerdine.

The library was one of several facilities gifted to Liverpool by Carnegie at the turn of the last century.

The Lister Drive Library has suffered from wet and dry rot following its closure in 2006 when problems with the building started to emerge.

OMI defeated Halsall Lloyd Partnership, Purcell, Harrison Stringfellow and Griffiths Thompson Partnership to win the estimated £100,000 contract one year ago.

The studio’s proposal will introduce new childcare facilities, rentable meeting space, hot desking, areas heritage activities and an events venue alongside other training and volunteering opportunities.

The scheme will deliver a series of insertions within the volume of the existing reading rooms to create the subdivisions necessary for the diverse range of proposed uses.

OMI Architects director Nick Berry commented: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity to bring a building, which was once the corner stone of the local community, back into everyday use.

‘We have a history of working successfully with listed buildings and saving them from the risk of serious decline.’

He continued: ‘What is unique about the Carnegie Library is not only the impressive scale and rich detailing of the of the internal space, but the fact that Carnegie himself saw the need for this community to be given something to be proud of and this project will ensure that this aim is continued into the next generation.’

Set up 18 years ago, the Lister Steps charity provides childcare services and is currently based in a series of Portakabins.

In April, OMI won a separate project to restore Liverpool’s Grade II* Wellington Rooms – which closed in 1997 – and create a new innovation hub for students.

The Manchester-based studio defeated Austin-Smith: Lord, Purcell, Ryder and Brook CarMichael to win the prestigious Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Preservation Trust-backed commission.

Designed by Edmund Aikin, the 1816 Neo Classical building was originally built for the Wellington Club and later became the home of Liverpool’s Irish Centre.

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