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London Library For Unpublished Matters

Part 2 Project 2001
Sofia Karim
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL), UK
The project consists of a single thesis. The work has been explained in four parts: Three preliminary studies which developed into a final building project.

The general agenda was an enquiry into “ways of perceiving spaces” and conditions of spatial ambiguity, perplexity and confusion. This dealt with visual illusions and the creation of a sort of architectural “switchabilty”- uncanny spaces that might appear one way at one time, and another way at another time.

The city of London itself was also a central feature of the work. The projects aimed to raise questions about conventional “ways of perceiving” or understanding the city, and its (mis)representations.

The culmination of these studies is the building itself: A library for London’s Unpublished Matters. The building is a twenty four hour venue, on the South Bank serving as both a five year deposit and as a society for collections of prevailing ideas on London.

Sofia Karim

The London Archive is situated on the South Bank, next to Hungerford Bridge. It is a building that stores unpublished works, data and artefacts about London. The space is a glorious archive that offers information to the serious researcher, the casual browser or any member of the public who choose to walk through its tranquil tidal gardens. It is a building to discover the truths and secrets of London and a building that offers changing yet tranquil theatre. The spaces are sunk low into the site and surround a synthetic garden whose porcelain shells provide shelter and glass tins offer a slowly surreal setting as they move up and down with the tide. The garden is bounded on one side by a high library wall, whose documents are bound in black felt. The library shelves are accessed by silent mechanical pods which, when projected over the garden, form enclosed reading areas. The western edge is a low corridor containing computerised information on the area.

The student's architecture displays a highly considered sense of order through a shimmering veil of ideas, all of which have their own meaning and aesthetic. It is essentially a public building for all to enjoy.

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