MAST Architects delivered their latest conservation project recently as the transformation of the Category B Listed former Carnegie Library in Coatbridge into affordable housing was completed for Clyde Valley Housing Association.
Located within a Conservation Area, the prominent red sandstone ‘Beaux Arts’ style building makes an important contribution to the townscape and unique character of the area. However, despite efforts to identify a suitable end use, it had been vacant since 2010 and the condition of the building had deteriorated due to lack of maintenance and criminal activity leading to it being designated a ‘Building at Risk’.
The client and design team engaged with the local planning authority and Historic Environment Scotland at an early stage to discuss the restrictions of the original building’s design, and the extent of changes that would be needed to successfully allow its conversion to flats. These changes included the insertion of new floor levels into the original structure, and the removal of the rear book stacks to create a robust and secure external area for residents, whilst the north gables of the book stacks have been retained to create a sense of security and enclosure to the garden space and to maintain the building’s characteristic silhouette.
A new access stair and external deck gives access to the upper levels, and areas of newly-exposed wall have been over-clad in an insulated timber rainscreen. These works are clearly contemporary in design, in order that the history of the building and its conversion can be seen and understood.