This mixed-use project is to redevelop Holborn Library on Theobald’s Road and the city block behind it in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury Conservation Area. The client has formed a private-public partnership with Camden City Council to unlock the site’s full economic, social and cultural potential. The scheme will fully remodel the library, provide brand new employment studio spaces, deliver 105 new homes, and create new public spaces.

Holborn Library, one of the earliest Modernist public libraries in the UK, is inflexible and poorly connected to the surrounding public realm. Although it backs onto Cockpit Lane, a cul-de-sac that accommodates the Cockpit Arts building, there is currently no connection between the two. The brief was sensitively to reinstate this historic route to make the activities within the library more visible and welcoming.

Our design is anchored around Little Cockpit Yard – a conical event and performance space that plays on the hexagonal motif in the library and brings daylight to all floors of the library. A link between Theobald’s Road and Cockpit Lane, it is designed as place to gather, meet, study, read and relax. It will regenerate the library as an attractive destination in Holborn, and connect to the wider Holborn hinterland beyond, significantly boosting the public realm.

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Project credits


  • Project Director: Steve Jones
  • Associate: George Morgan
  • Architectural Assistant: Catherine Blaney


  • Structural: Heyne Tillett Steel
  • M&E: Foreman Roberts
  • Project Management: Beadmans
  • QS: Beadmans

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