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The Women's Library, UK

The Womens Library is on the site of a derelict Victorian wash house, in Old Castle Street, Aldgate, London. The existing locally listed façade to the wash house was retained and the new building form is generated from a response to this context.

The new building steps back as it rises on the east and north façades to provide an appropriate scale at street level and at a distance, whilst masking the five storey façade of an abutting building.

It is composed of the retained façade, in which two windows are left vacant to make clear that it is only a wall, tied to a sculpted stepped copper clad and roofed element which joins this to a five storey cubed brick building behind.

The building was specified to have long life, low maintenance materials. This was a deliberate capital investment to minimise the maintenance and running costs of the building over its lifetime. To this end copper was considered a very appropriate cladding and roofing material.

The building is spatially dense and geometrically complex but through the use of a very limited range of natural materials and careful detailing throughout, from the external relationship of the principal constituent parts to the composition of door furniture, it is consistently legible.

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Building

Owner: 
London Metropolitan University
Completion date: 
2001
Country: 
United Kingdom
Zip code: 
E1 7NT
City: 
London
Street: 
25 Old Castle Street

Categories

Applications: 
Facades
Roofs
Type of building: 
Cultural
Copper used: 
Classic
Estate: 
Upgrade

Architect

Name, office: 
Wright & Wright Architects

Copper contractors

Title: 
NDM Ltd

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