Environment and Habitation

Below we have presented some research answering a variety of questions regarding CWL and the environment that surrounds it. Moreover, we have included some videos of the fauna and flora characterising the site.


How immersed was the designer in the community?

The designer’s  purpose was to celebrate libraries and create something new and original in a so called “dead” area. As a matter of fact, London is a city with not many libraries as ,over the years, so many of them have been demolished .The designer was really immersed in the community, the new library contributed to the regeneration of the area on the east side of London, in fact the Canada Water Library provides a centre for the local community.

The Canada Water Library has been designed to allow festivals and a host of other events:

-Canada Water Plaza opening event (22 June 2012): a free event, the opening of the amazing new library.

-The Sketchbook Project (12 to 19 October 2012): a free event, the exhibition of an art project which encourages artists from diverse backgrounds.

-Feel better with a book (26 September 2012): a free event, a chance to make friends and share reading.

-Through Southwark’s Eyes (20 October 2012): a free event. “The journeys travelled by past and present sporting heroes”

-Pauline Black (22 October 2012): a free event. A famous singer talked about her life.

Precious Williams (24 October 2012): a free event. Sir Williams red his autobiography.

 “Our idea is of the library not as a stuffy depository, but as a place of dreaming and ideas. We wanted to design a space which would accommodate the distinctly different requirements of the main users groups :adults, children and young people. ”  Piers Gough, CZWG Architects

Relationship between interior and exterior

Ecological Materials?

The Canada Water Library has a really strong enviromental credentials. It incorporates ground source heat pumps, grey water harvesting, solar heating panels (and the east and west elevations allow winter sun to warm the building) energy efficient services, and a green sedum roof. The Library has got many sustainable aspects and C02 low emissions.   The use of recycled materials has been really encouraged and the insulation used in the building has a very low global warming potential.

Does the building promote communication? (width of spaces)

The ground floor, with a bar, catches our attention because of its particularity: a strongly coloured design about joining together and meeting. It can be described like a place that amplify and promote communication in such a way that is hard to believe to be in a library. And we have shops and cafes spill out onto the plaza, we can say that the library encourages interactions other than to go to study. In fact there, we heard an old man complaining because of the noise. Then, you go up the staircase and it gets quieter and quieter: the first floor is a totally different place instead, it is peaceful and silent area, you go into a kind of cloud zone in the sky where you can take ideas from books.

How did the press comment on this building and how did this affect the perception of it?

Some journals gave a positive feedback about the Library:

“A south London council has opened what it describes as a “super library, an amazing building”

(BBC News)

“It is an incredible breathtaking use of space, both inside and out, and has all that you could need under one roof.”

(The Evening Standard)

But some others as “The observer” (and websites) made horrible comments on this building as follows:

You go from car park to reed bed to tin shed to a wooden bridge redolent of old Holland, without apparent logic”

“The spiral staircase, which in turn makes the business of going somewhere for a book into a little event or ceremony, rather than a sideways drift such as you might make into a supermarket.”

“Canada Water is what can most charitably be described as a work in progress.”

But, remembering our interviews, most people like this space a lot so the press’ comment didn’t really affect their perception of it . In fact the Canada Water Library won the prestigious RIBA Regional Award.


Projects for the future:

-Support for appropriate health facilities, new arts and cultural facilities, community facilities, jobs and training services and a local businness support strategy.

-Provision of a new library, affordable housing and new public open spaces.

-Founding for community safety needs, improvements to leisure centres, a new school, crime reduction and prevention initiatives.

Transports: founding for a range of transport initiatives (bike sharing etc.), for a high quality network of cycleways and walkways. Support for a new road infrastructure and traffic management measures.



Diagram of mini ecosystem at CW:


Videos of wildlife:

wildlife 1 video

wildlife 2 video

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