Year | 2010
Location | Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK
Client | Sheffield Central Library
Located in the heart of Sheffield, the Central Library is seen by many as an invaluable public resource, but lately the provision of library services within the existing building is fast becoming outdated in the dilapidated Listed building and is a constant drain on public finances.
For this reason, the Live Project team aims to tackle these problems and propose solutions for the building and wider cultural network. Part of the brief developed to ensure that the team’s proposals effectively went beyond the condition of the building to produce visionary conceptions, which explored the library’s wider potential.
By researching through three strands: exploring into the existing building, creating cultural links and envisioning a future for the library services the team adopted a methodology of ‘research through design’. The process culminated in a Focus Group consultation, which brought together different cultural departments within the council to act as potential stakeholders. The consultation tool aimed to re-think the Central Library in its context as a set of flexible programmes. Programmatic implications had stakeholder responses that together informed three new briefs, which developed into the refined design proposals of the project:
Brief 1: Curating the Library
This project conceives the library as a place to celebrate the unique stock by forming hybrid clusters of interests as exhibitions, select stock and digitized search engines. In the wider context the library is a central hub to support four existing networks: Galleries, Sheffield Works, the Public realm and Theatres.
Brief 2: Knowledge Bank
The Central Library becomes an incubator for local knowledge, and to facilitate the transfer of local skills, arts and crafts from person-to-person.
Brief 3: Digital Plaza
This project aims to re-programme the library by redesigning an artistic and theatrical public space in the Library’s immediate context.
The deliverables of the project took the form of a physical document with three refined proposals and a ‘toolbox’, which resulted from the limitations of using a selective Focus Group and can be used as a consultation guide for further research, consultation and awarness.