Central to the regeneration programme is the proposed new library. The stated aim of the project is to create the UK’s best new library in an iconic, 80,000 square feet building which will contain adult lending and reference libraries; libraries for children and young people; spaces for making, creativity and innovation; a local studies and archive centre (£650,000 has been agreed for the digitisation of collections).
The building will also provide indoor amenities and public spaces, including a café, retail and a tourist information centre, with outdoor activities spilling out into Keel Square. The Culture House will be a “living room in the city”, with an annual 600,000 visitor target.
The project is now entering the first phase of a 2-phase consultation, design and implementation plan scheduled over three years. The masterplan is led jointly by FaulknerBrowns Architects (who designed The Word in South Shields) and Proctor & Matthews Architects.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, has said: “The Culture House will be a library, but unlike any we have seen in the city. It will be an engaging, interactive, playful environment, where people of all ages will feel inspired and enthused and can learn in fun new ways.”