The Word

The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, represents a real paradigm shift in the community library building typology. It is a library for the 21st century, celebrating the dynamic relationship between people, books, traditional media and interactive technologies, in a truly inspiring environment. The Word is a place for people; the human-centric design placing the individual at the heart of the opportunity to interact, learn and delight.

The building incorporates a library, exhibition space, FabLab with 3D printers and vinyl and laser cutters, television and radio studio, children's immersive storytelling area, OpenZone IT suite, café, and a rooftop viewing terrace with views out over the River Tyne. The Word has transformed an area of South Shields which is vital to the wider regeneration of the town centre, promoting footfall and tourism back into this once thriving coastal town.



The purity and strength of a circular building emerged from all of the influences and requirements set out by the urban grain, and the social and community ambitions. A large central atrium gives visual clarity to the scheme, allowing a grand gesture of civic quality to link all of the internal activities. This is very much an open and engaging plan, modern in its expression. It is not a temple for silence, but a place for sharing knowledge.

The Word provides a rich array of volumes over four floors, ranging from the grand social forum in the central atrium, to the most private and individually concentrated reader spaces at the perimeter of the building. A number of interactive activities are positioned close to the inner circle of the building to immediately engage visitors as they enter.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.