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CASE STUDY: The British Library


Architects

Colin St John Wilson with M. J. Long, John Collier, John Honer, Douglas Lanham, Peter Carolin

Dates

1962 - 1998

Description

Designed between 1962 and 1990, and shifting sites from Bloomsbury to the Euston Road, the British Library has been described by architect Colin St. John Wilson as his “30 year war” with local and central government. The case study was chosen as representative of “the other tradition of modern architecture” (St. John Wilson), which used rather than repudiated classical and vernacular typologies. The Library clearly reproduces the ancient relationship between public building and public space in front of it, as in church and square, or town hall and square. It also extends this traditional typology: the outside paving continues inside, the public space running from the exterior forecourt up through the interior of the building to a terrace at the rear, and providing some of the same spatial fluidity as another of our case studies, the Centro Cultural de São Paulo.

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