Encouraging reading through an interactive Secret Garden
The redesigned Children’s Library has as its theme Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic ‘The Secret Garden’. Located within the Town Hall Extension of Manchester Central Library, the space is aimed at 0-11 year olds and encourages further interaction with the library books through imaginative and sensory interaction.
Key to the brief was the need for a subtle yet engaging approach that encouraged children to read in the space but did not overpower it or the rest of the adjacent library stacks. It is first and foremost a working library, and the design needed to accommodate a number of practical considerations. Our design centred on a large-scale garden scene, which incorporates the library stacks, seating and integrated technology. We commissioned an illustrator to develop a specific style for the space that carried through all of the artwork. Visitors can spot a number of different animals, birds and insects that pop out from the undergrowth and move across our graphic wall display, splash their feet ‘virtually’ in a puddle, use green screen technology to transport themselves into the garden scene and use an interactive watering can to start a flower growing up the wall.
Manchester City Council
Design and Build