Peckham Library

Project Description

Designed by prominent architect Will Alsop, Peckham Library was the product of a number of public design consultations, to create a true community building. The Library forms the focal point of Peckham Square, creating an unusual point of interest in the recently redeveloped public space. Peckham Library was built as a catalytic project in a wider regeneration scheme, in an attempt to counter the effects of economic and social decline experienced in Peckham in recent decades

Aims and Objectives

The aim was for the Library to form the focal point for the redeveloped Peckham Square, which also now includes Peckham Pulse sports centre, and to encourage reading, education and inspire creativity within the community. There was a need to replace the inadequate hut that was being used as a library, built after the original Victorian building was bombed in World War II.

The brief specified that the building should be designed to be welcoming, safe, light, flexible, and energy efficient.

Project Start Date and End Date

Peckham Library took 5 years to develop, was completed late 1999, and opened March 2000. Construction of the building took 21 months.

Services Offered

Aside from the library facilities offering 60,000 books, available seven days a week, the Peckham Library building accommodates:

  • staff offices,
  • the Southwark Local History Library, and
  • the One Stop Shop for Council information and advice.

Success Factors 

In accommodating a number of services, Peckham Library has become a well used facility, at the heart of the community. The creation of Peckham Library and regeneration of the area has demonstrated good practice in:


  • committing to high quality design by renowned artists and architects
  • improving cultural infrastructure to revitalise a town centre
  • using festivals and creative activity to engage local residents and nurture local talent, and
  • helping artists set up in redundant local industrial spaces.

Business/Operational Model

London Borough of Southwark Council owns this public library, but the project, as part of the wider regeneration scheme, was led by the Peckham Partnership, formed for this purpose and comprising members of the private, public and voluntary sectors.

Financing and Delivery/Procurement

Measurement and Monitoring


Southwark @ The Centre: Strategy and Priorities for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Southwark Council, 2005. 

Southwark Council website

CABE website

Alsop Architects website

Contact details

Southwark Libraries
Communications Officer
Acme Studios
Tel: 0207 525 2000


Alsop Architects