After a fire destroyed Norwich Library in 1994, a millennium project was initiated to re-house it, alongside local visitor and business centres, a 'Heritage' exhibition and shop, a bar and restaurant, and the local BBC station 'Look East'. The old library site was combined with the adjacent car park to form a complete city block surrounded by civic buildings.

The Forum is conceived as a courtyard surrounded by a three storey, horseshoe-shaped enclosure of loadbearing brickwork, which accommodates the various activities on a series of balconies. The courtyard roof is supported by bow-string steel trusses forming leaf shaped panels, infilled with acoustically absorbent material or glazing. Light enters into the heart of the building, creating a dynamic public atrium.

The key sustainable strategy is the use of the building mass as a 'passive' environmental modifier, and the introduction of 'active' building engineering systems to assist the fabric in recycling ambient energy.

The Forum has established itself as a focus for city activities. Its spectacular glazed end wall frames the Gothic church tower of St Peter Mancroft, welcoming the city in and forming a major public space in the forecourt.


  • Location Norwich, United Kingdom
  • Value £25 million
  • Size 20,000 m²
  • Client Norwich and Norfolk Millennium Co Ltd
  • Year 2001

Selected Awards

  • Brick Award
  • Civic Trust Awards: Urban Design
  • RIBA Regional Award