Wright & Wright Architects has been appointed to develop plans for a new library to house one of the most important religious collections in the world at Lambeth Palace in London
The practice, which is understood to have seen off a number of big names to land the job, is set to work with the client the Church Commissioners for England, over the next few months to develop and cost the proposal.
The new library will house the second largest religious collection in Europe after the Vatican, with records stretching back to the ninth century.
Speaking to the Architects’ Journal, Declan Kelly, director of libraries for the Church of England, said: ‘This wasn’t a design competition – it was more about picking the architects we felt most confident in to deliver the vision.
‘There is a lot of work between us and the architect over the next year to produce a design that will then go back to the board of trustees for final approval.’
He said that an initial list of 40 practices was whittled down to 10 which were asked to submit bids.
Wright & Wright will now work to a brief that includes meeting standards for historic collections on temperature and humidity. The practice has previously designed buildings in sensitive historic locations for colleges at both Oxford and Cambridge universities.
Kelly added: ‘The architects have also committed to producing a zero carbon building and one that will fit in with the historic landscape which includes some grade I listed buildings.’
The Lambeth Palace Library currently holds around 200,000 printed books, with more than 30,000 from before 1700, more than 5,000 manuscripts, 600 of which are medieval, and records of past Archbishops of Canterbury.
Clare Wright, Partner at Wright & Wright Architects, said: ‘We look forward to working with the Church of England to develop a dynamic design to house a historic collection at Lambeth Palace so that it can be preserved and viewed by more people in the future.’