Southwark Council’s iconic new ‘super library’ in Canada Water, London, has won a major award in recognition of its outstanding design and contribution to the local community. The scheme features façade systems from architectural aluminium specialist, Technal, that were specified by CZWG Architects.


Spearheading an ambitious programme of regeneration, Canada Water Library resembles an inverted terraced pyramid of successively receding storeys that partly overhang the Canada Water basin.  The project has now won a Civic Trust Special Award.


The Civic Trust Awards recognise the very best in architecture, design, planning, landscape and public art. Awards are given to projects of the highest quality design that have made a positive cultural, social or economic contribution to the local community.  Special Awards reward those schemes, such as Canada Water Library, which are particularly outstanding in their field.


Finished in bronze anodising, Technal’s GEODE-MX SSG structural glazing and commercial doors have been used for the ground floor of the library. GEODE-MX Visible Grid features as strips of curtain walling to the three upper floors of the building, with GEODE-MX top hung concealed vents for natural ventilation and PXi doors providing access to the balconies. 


GEODE-MX SSG is a flush curtain walling option which meets specifiers’ requirements for less visible aluminium and clear expanses of glass. 


Commenting on the glazing specification, Anna Ifanti, Associate at CZWG Architects said, “The Technal team was very responsive at specification stage and their input in the design and choice of glazing options was helpful and valuable.  We needed the façade systems to be robust, lightweight, have slim frames and to meet the required U values, which the Technal products were able to deliver.  We are very happy with the end result.”


The Civic Trust Award judges praised the building as “incredibly successful, managing to redefine the function of a traditional library into that of a hub which offers a multitude of services to the whole community. All facilities are thoughtfully designed…..and have produced an environment that is imaginative, elegant and beautifully lit.”


“The result is a welcoming civic facility that is clearly enjoyed and well used by all…. an iconic community asset that is an exemplar of universal design.”


Constructed by ISG Jackson, the £14m building sits at the edge of a new civic plaza and a stretch of open water. Its expanding pyramid form integrates a compact footprint at ground level with progressively wider floors above.  The building is clad in light bronze anodised aluminium panels with sequined perforations, interspersed with recessed curtain wall screens.  This design gives the scheme a sculptural appeal and a striking visual effect, symbolising ‘the crown jewel to the new plaza’.


The Technal curtain walling is complemented by FXi65 tilt/turn casement windows used as ‘punched hole’ openings set into the cladding. 


The Canada Water Library has strong environmental credentials, with ground source heat pumps, grey water harvesting, energy efficient M&E services, and an extensive green sedum roof.  The canted east and west elevations allow winter sun to warm the building and provide a high degree of solar shading for the glazing in the summer, minimising glare.  The scheme achieved a BREEAM ‘very good’ rating. 


The Canada Water Masterplan was created by master developers BL Canada Quays in conjunction with Southwark Council and includes around 900 new homes, as well as retail, community and public spaces.


For further information about Technal’s façade products, call 01924 232323, email info@technal.co.uk
Images © Tim Crocker