The Plumstead Centre

  • © Jack Hobhouse
  • © Jack Hobhouse
  • © Jack Hobhouse
  • © Jack Hobhouse
  • © Jack Hobhouse
  • © Jack Hobhouse
  • © Jack Hobhouse
  • © Jack Hobhouse
  • © Jack Hobhouse
  • © Jack Hobhouse
  • © Tim Crocker
  • © Tim Crocker
  • © Tim Crocker
  • © Tim Crocker
  • © Tim Crocker
  • © Tim Crocker

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Highly Commended

Region

Greater London

Local Authority Area

Greenwich

Information about this scheme

This underused Grade II-listed public library has been transformed into a new civic anchor for Plumstead’s local community through a refurbishment and extension to an existing historic building. Designed for the Royal Borough of Greenwich as part of the first phase of the area’s regeneration, the new Plumstead Centre provides a range of spaces, from intimate library spaces to a bustling gym. The building’s design was developed through close engagement with residents and stakeholders that culminated in a new type of civic building that welcomes a diverse community. In 2016 Plumstead Library sat unloved on the High Street. A building of great character, yet it provided only a minimal library service. The retrofit and extension have given a new lease of life for Plumstead’s high street while minimising the project’s impact on the environment; it also preserves the building’s historic significance as one of the first Carnegie-funded libraries. The building combines library and leisure services to create a new community building greater than its sum of parts. By repurposing, it has brought a new lease of life to the building, using a high-quality design solution to bring a 120-year-old, Grade II-listed building into the 21st century. A dense collection of adaptable spaces provides enough variety to ensure maximum utilisation of the building. There has been careful unveiling and reinstatement of historic features, along with considered intervention to facilitate contemporary use. Stakeholders and the local community were engaged at an early stage, exploring types of activities and functions in demand. Analyses of programme-defined spaces and their capabilities ensured that social value and adaptability have been designed in from the outset. Upgrades to the building’s existing fabric, alongside carefully woven-in services, have allowed the rooms to function beyond their previous ability. With a requirement to double the size of the existing area, priority was given to maximising the use of the listed building, with the more demanding functions placed within the new extension to the rear. The overall assemblage is welcoming, appropriately civic feeling and cleverly arranged. RBG’s investment into the building highlights their commitment to creating high quality public buildings that will last. The result is the Plumstead Centre: a new typology of a community building set in an adapted heritage asset. Each room of the existing listed building has been sensitively refurbished and given new purpose.

Credits

Architect

Hawkins\Brown

Client

Royal Borough of Greenwich

Services Engineer

Stantec (formerly Pete Brett Associates)

M&E Engineers

Stantec (formerly Pete Brett Associates)

Primary Use Class

Class D1f - Public Library/Archive/Visitor Centre