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British Library £1bn extension by RSHP set to go ahead

British library aerial shot photo by tony antoniou.1
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The British Library has finally signed a development agreement deal that will kickstart Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ long-awaited plans for a £1 billion addition to its central London home

The practice, part of the joint venture developer team led by Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan UK, was selected two years ago for the development, to be built on land north of the Grade I-listed library next to PLP and HOK’s Francis Crick Institute.

However a deal with Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan, which had been expected to be agreed in summer 2017, has only just been signed off.

Eric Parry Architects and Make had featured in rival developer-led consortiums shortlisted for the estimated 9,290m² project, which was originally planned to complete by 2023 – in time for the library’s 50th anniversary.

The landmark British Library building, on Euston Road, was designed by Colin St John Wilson and MJ Long and was Grade I listed in 2016. 

According to the British Library, the plans for the 1.1ha plot will ‘address the need for additional space …  which is used by over 1.5 million people each year as a space for research, inspiration and enjoyment.’

As part of the deal, Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan will deliver around ‘commercial space for organisations and companies’ wanting to move into the so-called Knowledge Quarter – an emerging science and education-led district behind the library. 

The British Library and the developers are also working with Transport for London (TfL) to make sure that any infrastructure needed for Crossrail 2 can be accommodated within the new development.  

A timescale for the project is not yet known, but a temporary community garden will be launched this spring as a meanwhile use for the site.

Charles Walford, representing Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan, said: ‘We are pleased to have reached this important milestone in the proposals to realise this exciting vision for the British Library.

‘This is an innovative partnership that seeks to provide the library with new cultural facilities while also providing commercial space to sustain the long-term future of the Knowledge Quarter.

‘We look forward to concluding our agreements with TfL and thereafter engaging further with key stakeholders, including the London Borough of Camden and local communities.’

British Library drawing

British Library drawing

British Library drawing by Colin St John Wilson c1991

Rajesh Agrawal, deputy mayor of London for Business, said: ‘This is fantastic news for London and will help cement the capital’s reputation as a leading centre for ground-breaking scientific research and innovation. 

‘London’s Knowledge Quarter is going from strength to strength and our scientific institutions are the envy of the world. This scheme will deliver new jobs and demonstrate that London is Open to the world’s greatest scientific minds.’



British Library expansion project site

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 (1)

  • Maths for beginners. A billion for a small extension? The library itself only cost about half that... And of course the land flagged is a fraction of the original site intended for the library, which was twice the size.

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