The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Buildings at risk

The British Library Centre for Conservation, London

Status: Planning permission granted for demolition (2023)

Image: Peter Durant

Opening as recently as 2007, this £13 million final phase of the British Library was designed by Long & Kentish with Colin St John Wilson to provide a world class facility for all aspects of book conservation including education and training and to house state-of-the art technical facilities for the National Sound Archive. It brought together for the very first time all of the library’s conservation staff. Part of the architectural challenge was to create a building with its own identity whilst also being an integral part of the British Library site. This was achieved by joining the two buildings by a new public terrace at the first floor level, thereby not only giving the Centre its own ‘front door’ but also creating a new, very attractive public space, as well as covering over the unsightly loading bay. There is another covered corridor joining the two buildings at a lower level by which collection items can be securely transported. The majority of the studio space has been designed on the first floor with top light provided by a glazed saw-tooth roof.  Built with a long life in view, the Centre is under threat of demolition while still a teenager because the unconfirmed Crossrail 2 project wants the site as a temporary construction compound.

Status: Still at risk

Buildings at risk

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