Gladstone's Library sought submissions for an Invited Design Competition from architect–led teams with exceptional design skills for a prestigious new building and re-development of the existing Grade I listed building and its landscape.
William Ewart Gladstone (1809 – 1898) was the single most significant political figure of the Nineteenth Century. He founded the library in 1889 as a centre for debate, research and comment on the political, spiritual and cultural values he stood for.
Gladstone's Library is the UK's only Prime Ministerial Library and is unique in being a residential Library. Founded by Gladstone in 1889, its aim is to be 'the place to go' for debate, research and comment on the political, spiritual and cultural values that Gladstone stood for and, most importantly, showing how his ideals still have currency today. The client wants to extend their local, national and even global reputation through the quality of their programme and the excellence of their research collections, archive and exhibition. The project will bring Gladstone's legacy alive for the 21st century.
The client would like to develop the Library in order to promote wider engagement with the liberal values that lay at the heart of Gladstone’s life and work. The new building must be complementary to, but quite different from, the Victorian library building; a flexible, contemporary space will enable the expansion of the public programme including lectures and debates.
The aim is to create a visitor experience that will engage and inspire a broader range of audiences. It will be dedicated to three defining themes of Gladstone’s political career that have exceptional contemporary resonance – human rights and genocide; the evolution of democracy; religious tolerance. These themes will be the focus of a permanent exhibition and will form part of the Library’s future work and mission.
Peter Clegg, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and RIBA Adviser said: 'Gladstone’s library is a real National Treasure, celebrating as it does one of our greatest Prime Ministers whose contribution to democracy, religious tolerance and human rights needs to be better understood.
'There is a tremendous opportunity for architecture to help facilitate this with the refurbishment of their Grade I listed building and a new extension that will house an exhibition space and cultural hub. It deserves to be a truly amazing project.'
The four practices that have been shortlisted to design the prestigious new building and re-develop the existing Grade I listed library and landscape are as follows:
- AOC Architecture
- Caruso St John Architects
- Hopkins Architects
- Simpson & Brown