Peckham Library won Britain's most celebrated architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in November 2000.
The brief called for a building of architectural merit which would bring prestige to the borough and engender a sense of ownership and pride for the building by local people. Will Alsop created a building of unique appearance which satisfied both criteria, comprising innovatory solutions to design problems, creating working, archive and meeting spaces of genuine delight and stimulating appearance.
Suspending the main reading room on a cantilevered plane allowed the creation of a new public space below the soffit. Within this room, 'pods' contain meeting rooms and independent collections, with workstations clustered below.
The brief included a children's library and a range of adult learning facilities. The centre pod opens to the clerestory, allowing daylight to enter the main space while the 'beret' above affords shade. The library was conceived with sustainability in mind and has natural lighting and ventilation systems which significantly diminish the building's energy requirements.