The Wiener Library, Russell Square, London
The Wiener Library has had a continuous presence in London since 1939. Their acquisition of a building in Russell Square has finally given the library a permanent home. Previously the building had been occupied by London University’s School of Germanic Studies, and had suffered considerable unsympathetic conversion and repairs over the years since 1815 when it was built. The architectural programme for the Library was complex, with a requirement for an extensive library and archive, public lecture space, visitor reception area, offices, and research areas for the extensive army of volunteer researchers and translators.
In spite of extensive survey investigations before construction work commenced, the contractors still encountered numerous defective structural works carried out by previous leaseholders. This required extensive conservation work and for repairs to be woven in to the new conversion work. Particular attention was given to the dynamic performance of existing structure, with large floor spans in the Georgian house needing to be stiffened because of previous ill-advised alterations. The works also comprised a new lift, air conditioning for the library and archive spaces, as well as many of the rooms being opened up and restored to the Georgian floor plan. The building now provides an important cultural resource and centre.
Architect Barbara Weiss Architects
Client The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide
Value £1.5 million