Knowledge Networks: London and the Ox-Cam Arc
Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan UK are working with the British Library to create a transformational contribution to Camden and London’s Knowledge Quarter.
The proposals involve bringing forward the development of the British Library’s estate on a 2.8 acre site to the north of the existing Grade I Listed library and immediately south of the Francis Crick Institute, Europe’s largest biomedical research centre.
The project combines an extension to the British Library, a new home for the Alan Turing Institute (the national centre for data science research), and commercial workspace focused upon the knowledge sector, especially Life Sciences. It will provide an additional 100,000 sq ft of new space for the British Library for learning, exhibitions and public use, as well as an enhanced Business Centre and auditorium for a range of events. The new spaces will support the Library's plan for transforming into the world’s leading knowledge centre and promoting its purposes — custodianship, research, business, culture, learning and international.
The commercial spaces, above the new Library extension, will comprise adaptable office space that can accommodate different sizes of business as well as a range of uses, including both wet and dry laboratories. This space will appeal to a range of organisations from small start-ups to large mature corporates that benefit from being near each other and the universities, teaching hospitals and research institutes that make up ‘The Knowledge Quarter’, of which the British Library is the epicentre. The project provides the opportunity to create the right spaces and connectivity that are required by the knowledge sector, that are currently scarce in central London. The design will foster interaction between the different users by mixing research and commerce with the Library and the wider community. The project can create connections: between the British Library and the commercial users; within the network of Knowledge Quarter organisations and, importantly, reaching out to the communities of Camden and Somers Town, generating a range of educational and
The project is at a similar stage to Royal Street, but with a longer delivery profile due to enabling works regarding the British Library’s continued operation and infrastructure that needs to be provided for Crossrail 2.
‘It is rare that developers are able to build genuinely public
buildings. Not only will the new extension be where the
Library's ‘Living Knowledge’ vision comes literally and
visibly to life, we want to create a seamless continuity
between the Library spaces below and the commercial
above, fostering a community between the buildings
occupants, Knowledge Quarter partners and the local
community of Camden and Somers Town. The entire
footprint of the site, both within the building and externally,
will be publicly accessible, open and welcoming from street
level, creating a facility which can be used for a wide
range of activities including those that are community
focused and led. The ambition is that the local community
will regard this development as a local asset and we will
develop a programme of activity and initiatives to enable
this to happen. The project is an innovative public private partnership
providing a new civic and public space, expansion to
a National Institution, much needed knowledge based
commercial space in central London, and a range of
community benefits and opportunities; it will also provide
vital infrastructure for a new urban railway.’
Charles Walford, Director, Stanhope