Newcastle City Library

ClientNewcastle City Council

LocationNewcastle upon Tyne

Project TypeCivic

CompletionMarch 2009



The brief was to provide a building to ‘delight and inspire’ and to create a model for twenty first century library facilities.

The library has been widely acclaimed by the public, staff and stakeholders.  It is a civic landmark and a meeting place.  It accommodates a range of supporting facilities, a café, crèche and public meeting and exhibition spaces. It is fully accessible, inclusive and close to public transport.  It is environmentally responsible, accessible, inclusive and fun – a ‘living room for the city’.

The six storey building has a four storey entrance atrium.  It is highly transparent encouraging people to visit and enjoy.  An observation deck gives visitors new views across the city.  Clear wayfinding uses vibrant colour coding for different areas.  The entire glazed east elevation features artwork, inspired by interviews with over 1,000 residents.  New hard landscaping has transformed previously drab public realm into attractive terraces.

Construction materials represent the civic stature of the building, its immediate physical and cultural context and its contemporary nature.

The design proposals, for both the exterior and the interior, including furniture and stock arrangement, were developed through extensive public, user and staff consultation.

“Newcastle’s new central library is everything that a modern, city centre library should be and I welcome the completion of this beautiful and uplifting space.”

Barbara Follett, Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism

“It’s a wonderful building, combining wonderful opportunities for pleasure, learning and discovery.  A beacon, in fact, and a magnificent reminder of everything that libraries can offer their communities.”

Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate and Chairman of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

“I can honestly say that the building has exceeded my expectations…in terms of design, construction and fit out.  We are very pleased indeed.”

Tony Durcan, Head of Culture, Libraries & Lifelong Learning, Newcastle City Council

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