Project Description

British Library, Kings Cross


Project: Refurbishment of gallery spaces, and structural retail works
Client: The British Library
 £ Undisclosed

Forcia were appointed by The British Library, one of London’s most iconic public buildings to undergo significant works to the exhibition space and the retail unit in two phases.

Forcia were faced with challenges by delivering the project in a live environment. The British Library has over 1.5 million visitors each year, using the Library for research, enjoyment and inspiration. The building is Grade I Listed, which meant Forcia had to be mindful of the building works in both design and implementation.

In Phase 1, the project works were to create a adapt the large exhibition gallery space into two sperate areas facilitating the Library Exhibition team to run two separate ticketed events simultaneously. What was the Paccar Gallery was to become Paccar 1 and Paccar2.

Paccar 1 is the home for traditional exhibitions and reopened with ‘Writing: Making Your Mark’ after phase 1 and now ‘Buddhism’ after phase 2 and Paccar 2 is a smaller gallery space to trail experimental exhibitions, which opened with ‘Leonardo Da Vinci: A Mind in Motion’. The separation was achieved by creating a full height acoustic partition and corridor providing stair free access for visitors to both gallery spaces. New mechanical and electrical packages were installed ensuring the separate spaces can be environmentally controlled individually.

Separately but running concurrently, Forcia carried out structural works to create a new opening for The British Library shop to allow customers to flow between the two areas of the shop. These works included the installation of a fire shutter, creation of a decorative surround in keeping with the Library’s high standards, new lighting and stone flooring.

Phase 2 of the works concentrated on the lobby area of the Exhibition spaces. The works that were delivered here included exposing the original black lacquer walls & the original leather curved sofa and fully refurbishing both. The lighting was also updated, and the ceiling repaired and decorated to return it to its former glory.

Photo credits HaraClark