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Exclusive: Thamesmead Library design proposals unveiled

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The AJ can reveal the concepts by the five practices shortlisted in the competition to design a £5 million lakeside library within south-east London’s Thamesmead estate

Submitted anonymously, the proposals have been drawn up by Adam Khan Architects, Bisset Adams, Keith Williams Architects, Architecture 00/Studio Weave and Norway’s Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter.

Backed by housing association Peabody and Bexley Council, the invited RIBA-run competition called for ‘inspirational’ proposals for a ‘state-of-the-art’ library facility overlooking Southmere Lake – a short distance from the new Crossrail terminus at Abbey Wood.

The shortlist

  • Adam Khan Architects
  • Architecture 00-Studio Weave
  • Bisset Adams
  • Keith Williams Architects
  • Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

The landmark project is part of Peabody’s larger £1.5 billion regeneration of the 1960s Brutalist housing estate, which featured in the film A Clockwork Orange

The library will be constructed in Southmere Village and will kick off the programme’s 1,500-home first phase, masterplanned by Proctor & Matthews and Mecanoo.

The Brutalist Thamesmead estate was constructed during the 1960s on the Erith and Plumstead Marshes. In 2014, Peabody purchased the site as part of ambitious plans to deliver 20,000 new homes within the wider area.

Proctor & Matthews and Mecanoo won planning for the first stage of the £1.5 billion transformation in October last year. The consented applications include detailed plans for a civic-led quarter with 525 new homes, known as Southmere Village, and outline plans for three other development areas delivering 1,000 homes – Binsey Walk, Coralline Walk and Sedgemere Road.

The judging panel for the library includes John Lewis, executive director for Thamesmead at Peabody; Andrew Matthews of Proctor & Matthews Architects; the RIBA’s competition architect adviser, John Whiles of Jestico + Whiles Architects; and Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.

The library competition featured no minimum turnover requirement and was intended to be open to a wide range of architects – including young and emerging talents. A winner will be announced at the end of November.

Peabody hopes to submit a planning application in March next year, ahead of a June start on site and a scheduled opening date of June 2020.

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