Bentley Community Library Competition, Walsall
Fashion Architecture Taste (FAT) Ltd has won the competition to design a new community library facility in Bentley, Walsall.
The first phase of the competition attracted 72 Expressions of Interest from architectural practices in the UK, Europe, Sri Lanka and the United States of America.
FAT won a hard-fought competition that also included Aaron Evans Architects, Featherstone Associates, McMorran and Gatehouse Architects Ltd, Panter Hudspith Architects and Sjolander da Cruz Architects on the shortlist.
The Jury Panel, which consisted of representatives from the local community, Walsall Council and an RIBA Adviser (Chris Haddon, Haddon Few Montuschi), was greatly impressed by each team's response to the challenging Design Brief, the various approaches adopted and the persuasive arguments presented. The Panel felt that FAT's design proposal responded most closely to the Stakeholders' aspirations for the scheme, namely the ability of the new Library building to engage the community, to act as a local landmark, set a design benchmark for future developments in Bentley and signal its regeneration.
On hearing the news that they had won the competition, Sean Griffiths (Director of FAT) commented: 'This is the first time we've won a competition for a public building, so we're extremely pleased about that. It's nice to have an opportunity to work in Walsall where there are already great buildings and projects by some very good architects. We hope that our library will add to Walsall's growing collection of fine contemporary buildings and also give the community of Bentley something that they'll be proud of'.
Jury Panel member Cllr. Adrian Andrew (Walsall Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration) said the finished building would be a great asset to Bentley. He went on to comment: 'I can't wait to see the finished building. I really can't. It's going to be tremendous and to have national interest is fantastic news for Bentley and for Walsall. This development will be a landmark and will be the benchmark for other developments in the area'.