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The Paperback House

Part 1 Project 2012
Josh Letherbarrow
London South Bank University, UK

In response to British libraries facing closure through government cuts, and printed books threatened by digitalisation, this project sets out to save the paperback book.

Set in the remains of a once thriving industrial zone in east London, this building develops from the roots of Hackney Wick's publishing heritage and re-establishes the historic relationship between the train journey and the paperback book.

The Paperback House building is combined with a new station entrance for Hackney Wick, and its activities are not defined by one single space, but circulate along the Overground train line. Paperback book dispensing depots and paper pulping stations are placed on Overground station platforms, with the train carriages becoming re-established reading rooms. Hackney Wick’s Paperback House pulps, prints, publishes and archives and is constructed of the same elements that inhabit the platforms across London. The Paperback House will reinvent the way we access and read paperback books, accepting their disposableness and promoting sustainability, through recycling of its paper and reproduction in a highly responsive habitual service.

Acting as the hub of a continuous cyclical process of reading and travel, the Paperback House’s stark industrial structure, towers above its urban surroundings as a sign of the area's future.

Josh Letherbarrow


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