The new Shrewsbury library - situated within the local public park, the Quarry - aims to provide a vibrant new central hub for the local community, a place where learning meets the celebration of arts and culture. It seeks to reflect the role of the town square within the park, providing a space for visitors to gather and have physical interactions, as well as being a landmark that signposts the transition from the dense town to the open park. Constructed in place of a derelict greenhouse, the concept of the new library as a ‘human greenhouse’ is one that is symbolic of growth, portraying it as a place of learning and nurturing of the mind through knowledge, regardless of age.
The new library will host a variety of spaces that include library space, council offices, the mayor’s parlour, gallery & exhibition space, a bookshop, and a cafe. The building’s natural materiality of timber celebrates and blends in with its surrounding greenery, while its foldable louvres open up to views of the park, connecting the building’s interior to its immediate site context. The solidity in the building’s brickwork complements the stone masonry in the surrounding buildings such as that of St. Chad’s Church.
The project is a result of design conceived through a culmination of different lenses. It was inspired by the desire to create a building that both relates to and adds value to its local context, carried out through the proposal of a thoughtful concept and a series of purposeful form iterations to provide its users with enjoyable and engaging spaces, as well as the inclusion of green design strategies driven by a personal affinity for the topic of sustainability in the built environment.