Clapham: What used to be one of London’s dodgier parts of town quickly became one of the city’s trendiest spots for young professionals. While this information may not be new or ground breaking, the area’s newest building – The Library Building – should catch your attention.
Excited to explore the neighborhood and see London’s newest property, I attended The Library’s first open house full of enthusiasm but left with mixed emotions.
Hitting the right audience
Advertised heavily with the tagline “The old is over. The new is unstoppable…”, the marketing campaign directed towards young adults paid off as the majority of the people visiting the launch weekend were in their late 20s or early 30s. As a young professional, this was great to see because most of the people touring the showrooms looked like either my current friends or someone I would consider spending time with. While the ad campaign played a role in the open house turnout, but we can’t over look the curiosity associated with a new building in an evolving area.
Warning! Typical Victorian period features were harmed during the making of the promo video below.
The interior design
Walking into the building, it was exactly what you would expect. White walls, modern European designing and stylish finishes. Adding to the buildings appeal were the high-end fixtures and amenities that I wish I had in my flat. On top of the great detailing, the sun poured through massive windows.
Perhaps it’s because nobody lives in the one- and two-bedroom showroom flats, but I couldn’t help think that apartment felt more like a hotel room than a place I would call home. The finishes were great and the hardwood floors were exceptional, but in the many ways it reminded me of the Citadines apartment hotel I stayed at when I first arrived in London.
Hopefully, if a friend or colleague moves into The Library, I’ll have a chance to see how someone would make one of these apartments feel like a home.
At first glance, I hate the rounded exterior as it looks like something from the 70s. The brochure copy prides itself on being at the heart of this evolving neighborhood, but the building doesn’t look and feel like the evolution of London. When I think of London’s evolution, I think of The Shard, Heron Tower and Strata, not something from The Library Building.
Despite the rounded exterior and the unique brushed aluminum window frames, the building developers added a very attractive feature – two large communal roof terraces on the seventh and eighth floors. The main architectural fixture I miss from Chi-town is the rooftop deck and it looks like these guys have built two nearly perfect decks that will capture the western sunsets and be the perfect barbeque locations.
The neighborhood is great and few can argue that Clapham isn’t a fun place to be on the weekend. With multiple gyms, grocery stores, tube stations and bars within a one to two block radius, the new complex is a logistics heaven compared to other neighborhoods in London.
Adding to the building’s appeal is its proximity to the Clapham Common and Battersea Park. Immediately after seeing the apartments, I made a short stop at Sainsbury’s for beer, and within 15 minutes my buddies and I were throwing back cold ones in Clapham Common. You can do this in a fair number of London neighborhoods, but the transition from apartment to grocery store to park was so smooth, it begged the question “Could someone living here ever get bored?”
To sweeten the pot, the developers have thrown in a few added benefits to purchasing a flat.
- Each apartment is given a hybrid bicycle
- The building has a concierge
- In addition to the in building gym, a one year membership to the new ‘leisure centre’ and pool off Clapham Manor Street (only one block away)
- A two year membership to the City Car Club Scheme (Note: Residents will not be eligible to apply for a Lambeth resident parking permit.)
The bottom line
I love the developers advertising and the atmosphere they’re trying to create. The modern style is fun, the potential neighbors seem great, and the rooftop terraces are calling my name. But as much as I love those elements, I need to be convinced about the flats and the exterior turns me off almost immediately.
However, this is an intriguing space for people willing to embrace the designers evolution and geographically it’s in a great location – the Northern Line cuts across nearly every major transportation hub in the city.
Whether I like it or not, the architect and developer are right, The Library Building is going to be a landmark in London.
For more info on The Library Building, click here.