OMI wins library restoration

OMI Architects has been appointed to design the repair and conversion of a grade 2-listed former library in Tuebrook, Liverpool.

The £3m project is the subject of a funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

If successful, the building will be transformed into a new community centre offering childcare, rentable meeting space, hot desking space, heritage activities, an events venue and a wide range of training and volunteering opportunities for local people.

OMI Architects’ team includes historic building surveyor, Alan Gardner Associates, and Camlin Lonsdale Landscape Architects, were selected following an open two stage procurement process resulting in a shortlist of architects including Halsall Lloyd Partnership, Purcell, Harrison Stringfellow and Griffiths Thompson Partnership.

Carnegie Library Tuebrook OMI ArchitectsOMI’s solution was to place a series of insertions within the volume of the existing reading rooms to create the necessary subdivision to provide for the diverse range of proposed uses, whilst retaining the original characteristics of the spaces.

The listed Andrew Carnegie Library designed by Thomas Shelmerdine was built in 1904 as a direct result of a donation from the wealthy industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. The library was built to provide opportunity for a disadvantaged local population.

After 100 years as a functioning library, the building, having been underfunded for a significant period, had to be closed following health and safety concerns. Unoccupied, the building has been subject to theft, vandalism and neglect and is listed on Liverpool’s ‘Buildings at Risk’ register.

Lister Steps, a local charity which provides childcare facilities in a neighbouring temporary building, plans to bring the library back into use, to continue the legacy of philanthropy and education, offering opportunity to a new local population.

With the design process now underway the project is to be submitted to HLF for Stage II approval in early 2016, with a projected start on site early 2017.

Nick Berry, director of OMI Architects, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring a building, which was once the cornerstone of the local community, back into everyday use. We have a history of working successfully with listed buildings and saving them from the risk of serious decline. What is unique about the Carnegie Library is not only the impressive scale and rich detailing of the of the internal space, but the fact that Carnegie himself saw the need for this community to be given something to be proud of and this project will ensure that this aim is continued into the next generation.”

Gaynor Williams, chief executive of Lister Steps said: “We have a one off opportunity to reuse Carnegie’s legacy for the benefit of our neighbours and start to re-establish the optimism that has been lost in our area.”

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