A competition to design a prestigious new £4.5 million building and re-develop the existing Grade I listed building at Gladstone’s Libary in Hawarden, north Wales,  has been won by London based architectural firm Caruso St John.

The award-winning firm fought off strong competition from AOC Architecture, Hopkins Architects and Simpson & Brown, who were also shortlisted.

The scheme will deliver a sustainable ‘new hall’ featuring a shop, reception area, lecturing and catering facilities and provide new staff and visitor facilities including a six-bedroom study centre.

“When we first decided to embark on an ambitious extension of Gladstone’s Library we were clear that we wanted to work with a really good architect.” Said Charlie Gladstone, President of Gladstone’s Library.

“Our aim was to further enhance the Library by creating a building of true beauty and national importance. And so we’re thrilled to be working with a globally recognised firm with a phenomenal track record.

Gladstone’s Library is widely regarded as one of the world’s most important centres of liberal thought and our extension will help to further our reputation and reach.” Charlie Gladstone added.

Peter Francis, Warden and Director of Gladstone’s Library said he was excited by Caruso St John’s “deceptively simple and effective design.”

Caruso St John’s design not only fulfils our brief but will have a very low environmental impact and will minimise energy use beyond what we imagined was possible.

All materials are local, renewable and recyclable. It is a wonderful design so without any hesitation at all we can enthusiastically and eagerly start to find the funds to realise both our own and Caruso St John’s ambitions.” The Warden added. 

Gladstone’s is the UK’s only residential library and wants to become the most significant tourist destination in North-East Wales.

It’s also Britain’s only Prime Ministerial library and the national memorial to the Victorian statesman, and four times Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone.

He founded the library in 1889 as a centre for debate, research and comment on the political, spiritual and cultural values he stood for.

The aim of the project is to create a visitor experience that will engage and inspire a broader range of audiences bringing Gladstone’s legacy alive for the 21st century.

Gladstone’s also aims to increase physical and digital access to its collections and archive, create an exhibition on Gladstone’s Living Heritage and how his influence impacts today.