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Rick Mather completes £12.5m Newham library

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Rick Mather Architects’ has completed a £12.5million library and customer service centre for the London Borough of Newham

The building which also contains council offices will bring the authority’s staff, currently spread across the borough, together under one roof.

The library and ICT rooms are on the ground floor, with the council departments on the floors above. The top floor includes a large community space which overlooks the street below.

Fronting the busy Barking Road, the brick-clad scheme has been billed as ‘a catalyst for new routes and interlinked public spaces across the campus-like masterplan’.

The scheme is the first phase of a wider masterplan drawn up by the practice which includes the refurbishment of three council-owned Grade II-listed buildings to house a new sixth form centre.

Rick Mather East Ham Library and Service Centre

The architect’s view

‘Requiring civic presence befitting the client’s brief, whilst being a natural fit with the neighbouring Edwardian buildings that front the busy Barking Road. The Customer Service Centre & Library (CSC+L) is an exercise in scale, materiality, and rigorous detailing.

‘Such is the rate of organisation and structural change with local government, the client was clear for the user brief and plan form to address the short, medium, and long term scenarios that may eventually play out. For example, a shrinking or expanding service output, which triggering future sub-lets or multiple tenancy typologies for both SME’s and community uses.

‘A deceptively simple square plan typology which draws on the immediate context, is then sculpted to notionally involve aspects of the surroundings within the building: establishing an exchange or connection between the elements. The plan in turn, responds to existing trees, the adjacent streets, building lines, vistas, and takes a particular interest in the way the facade turn corners and locating windows to frame key views

‘Robust high quality finishes reflecting the clients aspirations were employed, extensive use of visual concrete and is prevalent in the ceilings, columns, balustrades elements, but is most striking executed in a dramatic sculptural staircase. Timber wall panelling was carefully controlled to compliment the fair faced finishes, and used as a device to conceal WCs which line the core areas.’

Rick Mather East Ham Library and Service Centre

Project data

Location East Ham Town Hall Campus, Barking Road, East Ham
Type of project public 
Client London Borough of Newham
Architect Rick Mather Architects 
Structural engineer Haskins Robinsons Waters Engineers 
M&E consultant Mott Macdonald 
Planning consultant GVA
Heritage consultant Alan Baxter Associates
Sustainability consultant Mott Macdonald
BREEAM assessor Mott Macdonald
Cost consultant Currie + Brown
Project management Currie + Brown
Acoustic consultant Sandy Brown Associates
Fire consultant Ramboll SAFE
Gross internal floor area 4,350m2
Total cost £12.5million construction cost (excluding fit-out)
Specific environmental target BREEAM Excellent

Previous story (AJ 27.01.14)

Rick Mather scoops planning for £14m Newham sixth form centre

Rick Mather Architects has won planning for a new sixth form centre in the borough of Newham, London

The £14 million project forms part of Rick Mather Architects’ strategic masterplan for the historic Edwardian Town Hall complex at East Ham which includes a new 4,000m2 library and customer service centre, due to open next month.

Three council-owned Grade II-listed buildings will be refurbished to house the sixth form centre.

The first building, containing teaching facilities will open in September, and the following two buildings housing a library and tutorial spaces will complete in 2015.

The architects said the building ‘blends the historic red brick and terracotta surroundings with state of the art teaching facilities for science and mathematics.’


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