Enfield Town library, opened in March 2010 by Sir Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate, embodies Enfield’s vision of a friendly, accessible and welcoming building, more like a bookshop than a traditional library. Work started on site in 2009 for the extension, refurbishment and remodelling of the existing much-loved Edwardian library building at the heart of the Enfield Town Conservation Area. The main public entrance is relocated from Cecil Road to the adjoining Library Green which is used as an ice rink at Christmas and has been improved with fountain, artwork and new planting with habitats for wildlife, including log piles, bat boxes and bird boxes.
The project won ‘Best Built Project’ at the London Planning Awards in January 2011 hosted by London Mayor Boris Johnson. He praised the 'bold and successful architectural intervention' that brought a 'real sense of town centre renewal' and said that ‘the new building has turned the library around, both literally and metaphorically'. The main glazed entrance elevation is like a shop window and faces north, avoiding solar gain, while the other more solid stone elevations shield the library from surrounding traffic noise. Positioned at the end of the high street the Library has a landmark presence and offers extensive views of the improved Green. The renewed library has attracted a much wider range of users than previously, particularly in the younger age group.
The old and new buildings are linked with a two storey top-lit atrium that provides natural light into the centre of the plan and helps visitors’ orientation. The structural concrete frame and soffits of the new extension are exposed. An array of boreholes sunk some 100m below the Green provides a large portion of the heating and cooling requirements of the building from a renewable energy source. The building has achieved a BREEAM rating of 'Excellent'.