library Sports and Youth and Community Services Committees,

library is designed in conjunction with
other retailers/commercial partners and fashioned similarly to high street


“Tower Hamlets has some of the highest
levels of social deprivation anywhere in Europe. The population has some of the
highest basic skills needs in the country. The percentage of the UK population,
expressed as an average at ward level, in need of basic skills support is 24%.

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In Tower Hamlets the average is 31%. In

one Tower Hamlets ward the assessed level
of need stood at 36% of the population (the highest level of basic skills need
for a ward anywhere in the country). ”  (Department for
Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, 2016)







In 1999 the government created a national
agenda for tackling employment skills, educational achievement and
regeneration. Due to the decline of the state of education in parts of Britain,
in hopes become more competitive in the world market. The national agenda
consisted of;


• Library renewal: breathing new life into
the library network, bringing them into the information age and connecting
libraries to the new IT based

learning networks

• Lifelong learning: encouraging the
development of a national

grid for learning, homework clubs and a
national distance learning system through learn direct

• Community renewal: working to encourage a
community-focused approach to regenerating inner city areas, tackling the
problems dogging the housing estates.

Services and Education Directorates for the Arts, Leisure, Sports and Youth and
Community Services Committees, 2002)


The Idea Store proposals were designed to
draw themes stated by the government in 1999 together, in a way that encapsulates
the best traditions of

the library movement and the education
sector but presented in a fresh and exciting way, one that lured in new users
and retained the existing users. The Idea Stores are located in the heart of neighbourhood
shopping areas, this concept is an interesting way to attract a demographic
such as teenagers whom do not use the library service as much but do spend
quite some time on the high street.  Customer Services and Education Directorates
for the Arts, Leisure, Sports and Youth and Community Services Committees,

There are currently four out of 7 planned
IDEA STORES located in Tower Hamlets the first was in Bow, opened in 2002, then
Chrisp street in 2004, Whitechapel in 2005, which is their flagship IDEA Store
and the Canary Wharf branch in 2006. (, 2018)


The old public library in Bow only used to
amass 250-300 people a day, however after transitioning into the reformed IDEA
STORE in 2002 designed by Adjaye/Associates, it gained traction, about 1000
people walked through the doors of then new library. This is because of the new
services it provided such as afternoon homework club for children, IT classes
for the elderly and amenities such as cafes and small shops, which you wouldn’t
typically find in a public library. (Lane, 2003)



flagship IDEA STORE IN Whitechapel also designed by David Adjaye which cost
£2.1million, is more or less a community building; it holds a nursery school, dance studio, seminar spaces,
Internet services and physiotherapy tuition classrooms as well as a more
orthodox library facilities. Also on the top floor of the IDEA STORE is the
café with views out towards the city, which pulls people up within the
building. (Waite and Mark, 2006)


“The structure is a lustrous, extremely
glazed box; while the front is of two storeys directed south to the street,
most of the structure behind is on the first floor, sitting on an existing
podium above small single-storey shops, reading as an upper storey to them
along the narrow unroofed shopping mall to the east.

To the north the store disappears among
existing buildings as it meets Chrisp Street open-air market. To the west it
sits on the podium in retail backlands, a black opaque face that is largely
unseen. Its four entrances emphasise accessibility.”

(, 2006) Adjaye/Associates IDEA
STORE in Whitechapel was nominated for a Stirling prize award for its architectural