The £16m refurbishment scheme, designed by Hawkins\Brown, reinvents the public library for the 21st century

Formerly known as Plumstead Library, the new Plumstead Centre has been reinvented as a community centre better equipped to reverse the declining fortunes of the traditional lending library. 

Designed by architect Hawkins\Brown, the £16m refurbishment has retained and refreshed the existing Edwardian library housing the the children’s and adult lending libraries.

A single-storey extension at the rear has been replaced with a two-storey building that includes a gym and badminton court plus a glass-fronted foyer which now acts as the main entrance.

The original building has been reorganised to include a cafe, community rooms and two dance studios, the largest of which has a barrel vault that was discovered hidden behind a suspended ceiling.

Greenwich council owns the centre but the gym operator is responsible for the management and maintenance of the building including the library, which is a win for the council as it is no longer paying the running costs and a win for the residents who now have so much more on their doorstep.

All photography by Jack Hobhouse

 Project team

Architect: Hawkins\Brown

Client: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Main contractor: Osborne

Structural and services engineer: Stantec

QS: Faithful+Gould