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Clapham One

2007-2012

Clapham One has been able to provide three significant new public facilities – a library, leisure centre and health centre – all funded by the new homes within the development and at no cost to the local council.

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Clapham One has been able to provide three significant new public facilities – a library, leisure centre and health centre – all funded by the new homes within the development and at no cost to the local council.
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Strategy

Clapham One came about through a public-private partnership between the London Borough of Lambeth, which owned the land, and Cathedral Group (now called U+I) and United House. We were challenged to create a mixed-use building for the library, a large primary care centre, leisure centre, and 199 new homes, including affordable housing in partnership with Notting Hill Housing Group. The whole scheme is a landmark £80m mixed-use regeneration scheme that has transformed leisure services across two sites in Clapham town centre.

Location:
London, UK
Client:
U+I Group plc
London Borough of Lambeth
Role:
Urban Designer and Architect
Status:
Completed 2012
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We provided the masterplan for the whole development, as well as architecture, interior design and landscape architecture for the Library Building (which includes the health centre and 136 homes) and the public spaces that surround it. The library itself is the scheme’s flagship element and opened to much fanfare in 2012 – a year when many libraries were closing their doors rather than opening them.

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Clapham Library
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Specificity

The 12-storey building is formed of a series of curved, white masonry volumes that are articulated to break down the overall mass and soften their visual impact on the high street, while also providing an important marker for the community services within the building. The library and health centre sit at street level, with the homes sitting discreetly above and the public realm outside serving as a natural extension to the public spaces within. This was the key challenge – turning a disparate set of uses into a coherent regenerative scheme.

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The library’s 12,000 books are arranged around a playful spiral ramp that defines the space and looks down onto the open-plan children’s library and up to the reading-room level. Every space leads seamlessly into another.
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For the children’s area – the centrepiece of the library – we’ve designed bespoke demountable furniture which rolls away so that the space easily transitions into a flexible performance venue.

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Sustainability

Clapham One has been able to provide three significant new public facilities – a library, leisure centre and health centre – all funded by the new homes within the development and at no cost to the local council. This approach of cross-subsidising the delivery of community facilities through a public-private partnership has proved its worth to everyone involved, and the library has benefited enormously from being located in such a distinctive and high-profile building – membership trebled within three months of opening.