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Shenfield Library Read text
Shenfield Library View images
  • New public library, with commercial unit and nine residential apartments
  • Delivers new sustainable housing
  • A revitalised civic amenity in the heart of the community
  • New green linkages to the wider city
  • Enhanced public realm with linear urban park
  • Maximises efficiency of existing site

The redevelopment of Shenfield Library capitalises on the sustainable location of the existing town library, regenerating it into a new, high-quality public amenity, The project includes a new energy-efficient 3,928 sqft library, with ancillary spaces and an outdoor learning space and garden for all, a 538 sqft commercial unit, and nine new private apartments above.

The existing library buildings are being replaced with modernised and efficient new spaces, with improved space planning and technology to support the delivery of library services. The more efficient use of the site has allowed new sustainable residential apartments at first and second floor level, with private amenity spaces in the form of balconies or roof terraces, in the heart of the town and within walking distance of Shenfield train station.

Careful consideration of the organisation of the site within the existing streetscape and urban realm was an integral aspect of the evolution of the design. A highly glazed frontage to the library provides a visual connection with the public realm, forging connections with the town, whilst also providing good access to natural daylight.

A collaborative design consultation process was developed to shape the design response of the outdoor public space. A new prominent entrance to the library has been introduced by bringing the building footprint forward, and orientating it to address the commercial heart of the town, facing the station. Great care has been given to the design of the urban realm, with an urban aesthetic and a sophisticated use of materials selected for texture, colour, pattern, durability and ease of maintenance. The envelope of the building has been detailed to be simple, with minimal detailing, with a taut skin and large punctured openings. A palette of three complementary bricks creates a geometric sense of an interlocking puzzle.

A range of environmental and sustainability measures include air source heat pumps, solar panels, a ‘green wall’ and electric vehicle charging points for each of the apartments.

In combination with high-quality architecture, the outward-looking spatial strategy has resulted in a well-designed public amenity, including new green linkages and a linear park, creating opportunities to engage, socialise, and benefit from outdoor space.  The new library will make a renewed civic contribution to the urban realm and shape a new edge to the town’s commercial heart.

Key facts
  • Designers: Chetwoods
  • Client: Brentford Borough Council / Essex Housing
  • Location: Essex
  • Status: On-site. Completion 2024
  • Awards: 2023 Inside Housing Development Awards Best Development 0-100 Homes - Shortlisted