the project

We were delighted to be chosen to design the new Thomas Graham Library, a replacement library for the village of Strathblane.

The proposed library sits on the same site as the existing library building in Strathblane (currently well used but housed in a 40-year-old portacabin building in need of replacement) and is adjacent to the school. The new building will contain an expanded collection of books, a dedicated children’s area, accessible IT desks and meeting rooms.

The library is named after acclaimed 19th-century Scottish chemist Thomas Graham, whose legacy includes the essential text book Elements of Chemistry, Graham’s Law (find out more here), and the beginnings of what became dialysis machines used daily in modern medicine. Thomas’s great nephew Angus Graham has set this project in motion with an extremely generous donation.

 

 

How we worked

The library site is very familiar to us as some of us who have lived in the village of Strathblane, with children who have spent many happy hours in the library. So, the opportunity to design this building is something that we are delighted to be involved in. 

The site is adjacent to the school which sets up a perfect relationship with these two key community buildings in the village. Perhaps the most appealing part of the site though is its physical location beneath the foothills of the Campsie Fells. It is these two key physical factors that have driven the form and orientation of the building and the architectural response is a linear, mono-pitched building with a large glass façade on its most public side. This glazing has the dual function of making the library interior very visible and inviting to school children and the community from outside, and from inside allowing users to enjoy the impressive drama of the hill views, which are framed by the windows. This will be an inspiring space to be in.

The dramatic overhanging roof forms shelter at the entrance to the library. It’s right beside the school entrance, which we hope will encourage parents to drop in and use the community facility as much as possible.

 

Success of the project

We envisage this library being a great asset to its community. The building of a new library is a very hopeful thing to do, in this case generously supported by the living relatives of Thomas Graham. Public architecture projects such as this are so important and can provide inspiration and a feeling of collective ownership for all those who use it, enhancing the lives of the community it serves.

The project is at planning permissions stage at the moment.