The Ward Library


Client - Peterhouse

In 1883 Basil Champneys converted a row of brick warehouses adjacent to the river into the University Museum of Classical Archaeology. Champneys created a series of top-lit classical galleries linked through grand porticos to create a glorious sequence of spaces.

One hundred years later, the grade II listed building was taken over by Peterhouse and converted into a college library. However one room remained unconverted and unused: the old central gallery of the museum. Freeland Rees Roberts was asked to bring the space into service for the Ward Library, by opening up the currently blocked portico that led from the present reading room. The gallery was ideal for library use, being top-lit by continuous glass panels along the entire length of the roof. The College wanted it to house 20,000 books and 20 readers, with up to10 computer spaces. In addition we were asked to excavate tons of soil from below the Ward Library to create new college storage facilities and to redecorate the original Ward Library. The award winning alterations were completed in 2005.