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Lambeth Palace Library project supported by Ibstock design team

9 Jun 2021
Case study

One of the oldest libraries in Britain, Lambeth Palace Library is tasked with the preservation of the Church of England’s documentary history, and is the home of records dating as far back as the 9th century.

Situated in the heart of London, architects Wright & Wright wished to ensure that the new Library paid homage to the palace’s existing buildings, while updating the design to ensure it attracted new generations of visitors.  

Irina Hughes, design advisor at Ibstock, said: “The design of a brand new, £23.5m national library and archive for the Church of England is a project that certainly requires exact planning and the specification of only the best and most suitable products. Alive with history and culture, the development of the Lambeth Palace Library came with a series of stringent requirements, so it was essential all involved adhered to them.”

Wright & Wright Architects turned to Ibstock’s expert design advisory team, who recommended the use of a bespoke blend of Handmade brick manufactured at Ibstock’s Swanage facility, alongside Ashdown Blue Grey Headers. The resulting façade harks back to the Library’s origins, while the Handmade brick adds unique character.

Ibstock’s expert design advisory team is part of its Specification offering, which brings together a range of products, services and initiatives to ensure an efficient specification process. This includes investments such as the I-Studio, a collaborative space for architects and specifiers; products such as the innovative MechSlip and Nexus XI cladding systems; and a range of online tools and brochures to provide further information on the specification process.

Irina continued: “As a manufacturer, we have extensive experience in providing a wide range of products to sites of historical significance, working with specifiers as a matter of course to ensure the final design remains in harmony with both the architectural vision and the site’s original design. However, we recognised that Lambeth Palace Library required unique consideration all of its own. As such an important centre of British cultural life, preserving the heritage of the building – even in the new design – was essential, as was ensuring the new building complemented neighbouring historical structures. On a practical level, fire prevention was a key concern, alongside the precise temperature and humidity levels, differing from room to room, needed to preserve the historical manuscripts.”

Through its Specification offering, Ibstock uses its expertise in design and manufacturing to ensure projects are taken from concept to build, while ensuring they complete on time. The design advisory team provides support at every stage of the specification process, using years of product expertise and the latest digital tools to support specifiers.

“With such a complex brief, it’s great to be able to support architects on projects such as these. We recommended the use of handmade bricks in the project, which offer both the aesthetic appeal and flexibility needed to meet heritage and temperature-controlled requirements, the team were on hand every step of the way to provide insight and guidance as to the products to specify throughout the project fulfilment. Our ‘hands-on’ approach to the project enabled us to provide a brick that met the unique needs of Lambeth Palace Library, ultimately resulting in a finish which has significant aesthetic appeal.”     

To learn more about Lambeth Palace Library, and Ibstock’s wider Specification offering, please visit