British Library Building London Design, Euston Road Architecture Photos, Scandinavian Modernism BL Project Date, Picture

British Library Building

BL Euston Road Architecture, London, England, UK design by Colin St John Wilson architect

post updated 10 February 2024

Address: 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB, UK

British Library Listed at Grade I

British Library building

20 Apr 2016 – new photos loaded ; updated 19 Sep 2015 ; 3 Aug 2015

British Library Listing

British Library courtyard

British Library building expansion

1 August 2015 – The British Library has been listed at Grade I by the Heritage Minister, Tracey Crouch, on the advice of Historic England. Additionally, seven later 20th century libraries have been listed at Grade II.

British Library Building

The British Library Listing

The British Library is arguably the most significant new public building of the later 20th century in England. Its architecture is both immense and extraordinary and its warmth and quality of spaces, finishes and sculpture have made it a much-admired building. It is set back in a stately fashion behind the distinctive brick piazza and portico and holds its own amongst a parade of Grade I buildings: St Pancras Hotel and Station and King’s Cross Station.

British Library Building interior

Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said: “The British Library divided opinion from the moment its design was revealed, but I am glad that expert advice now allows me to list it, ensuring that its iconic design is protected for future generations to enjoy.”

Roger Bowdler, Director of Listing at Historic England, said: “The British Library (BL) is one of England’s finest modern public buildings. Listing it at Grade I acknowledges its outstanding architectural and historic interest. Colin St John Wilson’s stately yet accessible design incorporates fine materials and a generous display of public art. The Library’s dramatic and carefully considered interiors achieve its ultimate goal: of creating a space to inspire thought and learning.

British Library London Building

“Historic England has had a really constructive consultation with the BL throughout. The way it has been listed celebrates its qualities, and points out just what does make it special. This will enable it to go on flourishing as a dynamic public building, in which appropriate change is welcomed.

“It joins a select group of other listed post-war public libraries on the National Heritage List for England. Even in today’s digital age, there is a clear future for these buildings. They illustrate a wide range of architectural styles, and together represent the very best in public architecture.”


7 Nov 2012

British Library

Location: Euston Road, north of the city centre

Date built: 1997

Architect: Colin St John Wilson

Address: 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB

Phone: 0843 208 1144

British Library building London BL building London

British Library Architecture

The cost of the BL building: £142m

– Scandinavian Modernism style, internal brick eg like Aalto
– very spacious atrium
– largest public building constructed in the United Kingdom in the 20th century
– no other architecture project, since the building of St. Paul’s Cathedral, over 400 years ago, took so long to construct or was surrounded by so much controversy.
– 37 years from the award of the brief to the opening of the last Reading Room, Sir Colin faced changes to the location, size, proportions, and funding for the building.
– architect taught architecture in Cambridge, England
– very controversial, dragged on for years and over budget
– in the middle of the building is a six-storey glass tower containing the King’s Library, with 65,000 printed volumes collected by King George III and given to the nation
– looks like a ship sailing into London
They building was built using strong aluminium extrusion

British Library building Building by Colin St John Wilson

British Library Architect

Other buildings by the architect, Colin St John Wilson, include:

Cambridge University Department of Architecture Extension
Pallant Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex
Queen Mary College Library, Mile End Rd, east London

British Library building
photo © Adrian Welch, Sep 2012


– national library of the United Kingdom
– world’s largest library in terms of total number of items
– over 150 million items
– 14 million books – second only to the United States’ Library of Congress
– legal deposit library, the BL receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and Ireland
– 4 levels of basement, 300km of shelves

British Library building London Building by Colin St John Wilson National library of the UK National library of the United Kingdom
photos © Adrian Welch, Sep 2010

– large sculptures by Eduardo Paolozzi (a bronze statue based on William Blake’s study of Isaac Newton) and Antony Gormley

UK Building by Colin St John Wilson British Library London Building by Colin St John Wilson
photos © Adrian Welch, Sep 2010

Euston Road Architecture Euston Road Building London Euston Road Building BL Building London
pictures © Nick Weall

BL Building Euston Road Building London
photos © Adrian Welch jun 2007

Location: north central London

Public Building on Euston Road in London Building by Colin St John Wilson Euston Road Building
images © Nick Weall

Entry gate designed by Lida and David Kindersley:
Entry gate
photo © AW

View from the east ; Entry port viewed from west:
Building by Colin St John Wilson British Library Building
photos © AW

Colin St John Wilson architect

British Library Extension – Centre for Conservation, north London
Date built: 2007
Design: Long & Kentish with Colin St John Wilson

Centre for Conservation London
photos © AW

Centre for Conservation:
Building by Colin St John Wilson BL Centre for Conservation Building Centre for Conservation Building by Colin St John Wilson
photos © Nick Weall

Location: 96 Euston Rd, London, NW1 2DB, England, UK

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Design: Wright & Wright
British Academy refurbishment London
image © architects
British Academy Refurbishment

Building photographs taken with Panasonic DMC-FX01 lumix camera; Leica lense: 2816×2112 pixels – original photos available upon request: info(at)

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British Library Masterplan

British Library – Holborn Reading Room, 25 Southampton Buildings, WC2
Date built: 1902
Design: Sir John Taylor, architect

Comments / photos for the British Library Architecture + Centre for Conservation design by Colin St John Wilson architect page welcome.