The Harbour Library, derives its name from the dual use of the building; the sanctuary creates a place to harbour victims of sexual assault and domestic violence from the area, whilst the library that cocoons it forms a new "harbour" on the existing lido complex by creating a new public building.
The need for the sanctuary is evident in Margate, in particular Cliftonville, the neighbourhood where the Lido is situated in, reveals that 1 in 3 women within Cliftonville experience sexual assault, and is the most committed crime in the area.
The aim of the building is two-fold, the sanctuary is reactive, responding to the current situation within Margate, and provides a shelter for these vulnerable people, creating a safe space to heal and grow. The library is proactive, a space to educate all ages of Margate’s population, through a 24 hour library, workshop rooms and a multi-use lecture theatre.
The form of the building comes from the idea of the library embracing the sanctuary and sheltering it from the outside world. The form of the library as seen in the Masterplan wraps itself around the sanctuary.
The different uses of the building means that the spatial requirements and language of each is different. The library, the solid arms of the embrace takes on a geometric form, evident in plan and elevation, the language is geometric. By contrast the sanctuary is fluid, evident in plan and in section, the sanctuary has semi circular and arched motifs throughout. The idea of the fluidity of the sanctuary in plan comes from precedents looking into the designs for sanctuaries, and dementia homes where the plan creates very few if any dead ends, in order for the person using the space to never get the anxiety that comes from being lost. The same intention is used in the sanctuary, with a fluid foem and continuous pathways, the user of the space is constantly connected to the spaces around it, never getting lost whilst engaging in the sense of community.
The materiality is purposely starkly different between the buildings, to define the two spaces. The sanctuary’s requirements for a solid safe space is characterised in it being built in local rammed chalk, whereas the more light feeling library is timber framed.