The Peckhmam library, in the south of London, was completed late in 1999. The building is part of a concerted programme of regeneration and community growth for this part of the borough of Southwark and forms one element in a new public square.
Eschewing the idea of a library as a static and somewhat rarefied preserve of accumulated knowledge, wisdom and informat ion, the cultural model proposes that the 21st century library should reach out to the community, encourage access to knowledge and embrace the diversity of the local population. The public domain is enriched by strong form and vivid colour.
The building is supported on concrete-filled steel columns, angled to form an irregular arcade which encloses a covered space, an extension of the new square. External claddings are chosen for durability and for their expressive textures and colours - pre-patinated copper and steel mesh contrast with coloured glass (used on the north facade). The library itself is at fourth floor level, the short arm of an inverted 'L', with offices, meeting rooms and other ancillary facilities on the lower floors.