Red lighthouse: East Street Exchange by We Made That
Client: Southwark Council and the Greater London Authority
Architects: We Made That
Location: Walworth, Southwark, London (GB)
The much-frequented East Street Library in Walworth had been thinking of enlarging its premises for some time, but no public funds were available for the undertaking. It was with this in mind that We Made That, a young, London-based architectural practice, designed an inexpensive extension to the existing building. Coming with a facade of red corrugated aluminium and featuring lights that shine through the perforated structure at night, the extension has the character of an urban lighthouse in the southeast London locality.
'East Street Exchange', as the extension is called, is a gathering place for the local community and entrepreneurs needing rooms that are publicly accessible, also outside the library's regular opening hours. As stated by Oliver Goodhall, co-founding partner of We Made That, the project is an example of how intelligent interventions in the urban fabric can revitalise neighbourhood cohesion.
The library extension is part of the 'What Walworth Wants' strategy – a publicly available catalogue of urban development projects devised with the involvement of local residents, associations and other interest groups.