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Caruso St John wins Gladstone’s Library revamp

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Caruso St John has won the competition to design a £4.5 million overhaul and expansion of the Grade I-listed Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, Flintshire, in Wales

The Stirling Prize-winning practice saw off competition from AOC Architecture, Hopkins Architects and Simpson & Brown with its proposals for the remodelling and repair of the Grade I-listed building, created for former Liberal prime minister William Gladstone.

The scheme will deliver a sustainable ‘new hall’ featuring a shop, reception area, lecturing and catering facilities and provide new staff and visitor facilities including a six-bedroom study centre. It aims to attract a broader range of audiences to the 1902 English Gothic facility

Practice co-founder Peter St John said: ‘Gladstone’s Library … is a very beautiful building. Gladstone was a formidable character, and the library represents him well, being a generous and rather serious place at the same time.

‘Our design for the New Hall is respectful of its special context, while also having a strong character of its own, and we look forward very much to developing the proposals with the library team.’ 

Gladstone’s Library president Charlie Gladstone commented: ‘When we first decided to embark on an ambitious extension of Gladstone’s Library we were clear that we wanted to work with a really good architect.

‘Our aim was to further enhance the library by creating a building of true beauty and national importance. And so we’re thrilled to be working with a globally recognised firm with a phenomenal track record.

‘Gladstone’s Library is widely regarded as one of the world’s most important centres of liberal thought and our extension will help to further our reputation and reach.’ 

Gladstone served four terms as prime minister during his 60 years in politics, which reshaped the economic and democratic basis of Victorian society.

Gladstone’s Library was designed by John Douglas and completed in 1902 as a landmark structure to house the former prime minister’s personal book collection.

Today the building, which is the UK’s only prime ministerial library, holds more than 250,000 volumes and receives around 23,000 visitors each year. The site also has residential facilities.

The competition was launched around two and a half years after Manchester-based OMI won an earlier contest to restore and expand the building.

The library says that the latest project will be dedicated to the three defining themes of Gladstone’s political career: human rights and genocide, the evolution of democracy, and religious tolerance.

The project is planned to complete in 2022.

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