Collective Architecture won a limited competition to redevelop a Category B' listed library in Bridgeton, Glasgow for The Glasgow Women’s Library. The library, built in 1903, is one of seven “Carnegie” libraries donated to the city. A local landmark, the building is grand in appearance with feature bays, intricate ornamentation and beautifully carved statues.
Glasgow Women’s Library provides a major resource for the City of Glasgow, Scotland and beyond. Their reputation extends nationally with a growing membership and volunteer team. The archive collection has steadily expanded, with items on display for public view and has gained growing importance through its accredited museum status. The library, refurbished for the Glasgow Women’s Library, now caters for an organisation with a national reputation, and provides accommodation which is capable of hosting major events, screenings, talks, exhibitions, as well as offering support services for people across Glasgow.
Throughout the design process, key stakeholder, client and community engagement workshops were crucial to the successful delivery of the project. Collective Architecture worked closely with the Glasgow Women's Library to develop informal reading spaces and an open plan mezzanine area, with new lift access, within the former Main Reading Room. The Reading Room is located above a new ground floor cafe and kitchen and a space for exhibitions. A major requirement was for a new strong room archive, designed over two levels at the rear of the gallery. This houses the permanent collections, as well as special pieces of display which required to be climatically controlled to ensure their survival.
Located to the gable fronting James Street, a new stand alone lift shaft provides accessibility to the existing first floor for all. This has been designed as a feature art work, with CNC cut cladding incorporating significant book titles which were chosen by the Glasgow Women’s Library Board Members. The Glasgow Women’s Library was project managed by Clyde Gateway, who are responsible for the wider redevelopment of Bridgeton, where the library is situated. hub West Scotland were involved in the successful delivery of the project.
The building was officially opened to the public on 7th November 2015 by the Rt. Hon. Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland, who described The Glasgow Women’s Library as ‘truly a national treasure’. In addition, on the 14th of December 2015 The Glasgow Women’s Library were awarded the title of ‘Recognised Collections of National Significance’ status by Museum Galleries Scotland, joining Scotland’s elite list of must see museum collections. The title covers the entire collection of museum and archive holdings and further cements Glasgow Women’s Library’s status as the only accredited museum dedicated to women’s history in the whole of the UK.
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