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Library, Bradford

Part 2 Project 2006
James Howard
De Montfort University UK
The Alsop masterplan for Bradford culminates in a lake at its centre. This is fed by Bradford Beck, the principal waterway and historic energy source, via ‘goits’ or channels which powered the cities industry. Now the goits are blocked and the Beck is culverted – reflecting Bradford’s loss of identity. The masterplan aims to rediscover the centre with the lake surrounded by its principal buildings.

The library is proposed as one of these buildings, sitting alongside the re-opened Beck. It underpins the intent of the masterplan and symbolises the revival of the genius loci and the knowledge that contributes to it.

James Howard

This proposal grows out of its existing and future contextual constraints and also uses the heritage of Bradford’s industry to make a quintessentially 21st century version of the library that can act not only as a repository of knowledge, but also as a place where people would want to be. It succeeds in rediscovering Bradford’s identity in a new and stimulating way.

The building is also well designed in detail, with decisions on materiality and construction rigorously aligned with the building’s functionality to achieve a well considered balance of overall design, without compromising its iconic urban status.

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