architectural practice Workshop weaving added wood planking community Center at Lea Bridge Library in east London, with a red concrete colonnade that references the original Grade II listed red brick building.

Built in 1905 in the Edwardian style, Lea Bridge Library in Waltham Forest backs onto a large green space called Friendship Gardens, which the new Community Wing overlooks through an all-glass facade.

Studio Weave has created a colonnaded community center in east London

Using the existing garden wall as a backbone, the London practice Workshop weaving inserted the narrow pavilion-like extension along its western edge.

According to the studio, this was an effort to minimize its impact on the original library building and embrace the garden as part of a new “civic heart” for the area.

Victorian facade of Lea Bridge Library in London
It was added to the Grade II listed Lea Bridge Library

“We envisioned the extension as a hybrid public space; a new city hall with broader opportunities for citizens to participate more fully in public life,” said Studio Weave director Je Ahn.

“Hybrid public spaces combine and maximize collective resources, and are unexpected engine rooms for community connection,” he continued.

Concrete colonnade in red hues
It has a red concrete colonnade

Although accessed through a renovated entrance and cafe in the existing library, the community center’s position on the site also allows it to act independently with two entrances created in the eastern and southern edges of the garden.

It has a long wood-lined interior, designed to be suitable for a range of uses, from quiet reading rooms to activity spaces for community groups.

London Community Center Woodland Interior by Studio Weave
The interior is covered with wood

Supported by the existing garden wall, the building features cantilevered laminated veneer lumber (LVL) beams towards the garden, as well as large skylights and a wall that is fully glazed that “invites the outside in.” ‘interior’.

Responding to the root systems of mature trees in the garden, the pavilion rises and features a semi-circular cutout at its center. Here, a concealed pivoting wooden door helps subdivide the space.

Between the glazed facade and the thin concrete colonnade, Studio Weave inserted a wooden terrace and a small paved patio that provide access around the building and provide space to enjoy the garden.

Wood reclaimed from felled trees across London lines the interior floors, walls and ceilings, offering a variety of colors and textures. This includes the fluted wood joinery on the walls between the built-in seating areas.

Event at the Lea Bridge Library Community Center
Skylights rest between laminate veneer wood beams

local furniture maker Sebastien Cox also used scrap wood to create the furniture in the Lea Bridge Library Center, including chairs, tables and sofas that echo the interior finishes.

“Since the completion of the new library extension, as locals we have witnessed the impact it has had on the community,” Ahn said.

“The extension is always bustling with occupants; children’s parties on weekends, students, mothers’ groups and workshop attendees every week.”

Community center interior designed by Studio Weave
It can be accessed through the renovated entrance and cafe

Founded in 2006 by Ahn, Studio Weave is a London studio that works on a wide range of public and private projects.

His earlier work includes adding a Wooden artist’s retreat in a house in Devon And one arched greenhouse for the London Design Festival 2020 which drew attention to rising temperatures in the UK.

The photograph is from Jim Stephenson.


Project credits:

Architect: Studio Weave
Customer: London Borough of Waltham Forest
Structural engineer: lumberjack
M&E consultant: NPS London
Quantity Surveyor: NPS London
Landscape advice: Workshop weaving
Furniture and carpentry: Sebastien Cox

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