Carlisle library is the largest library in Cumbria and busiest in the county in terms of footfall. We are working with Cumbria County Council in its transformation to a digital community hub – integrating a modern learning environment, a hub for cultural activities, a place for immersive experiences and events, a place of historic learning alongside modern library spaces for all.
The library is located entirely within The Lanes – a shopping centre built between 1982 and 1984 over former narrow lanes of houses and shops. The shopping centre is built in the postmodern style – visible in the apple green glazing bars, projecting angled windows and bright yellow ductwork of the library.
Our approach is to reinstate the light and open feel of the library, integrating new services linked together through a rich mix of spaces to sit, read and browse. New ‘lab’ spaces flexibly host and showcase classes and workshops, pushing activities toward natural light and the distinctive two-storey oriel window. Low bookshelves keep sightlines clear in the second floor double height space, with a bookwall spine housing one-to-one spaces, niches for reading and archive storage.