From the 1960s to the 2020s. OK This one felt pretty special. A full circle moment. This is the grade II listed Seeley Library by James Stirling and has been in the hands of RH Partnership for a phased refurbishment with preservation very much in mind. I was born in Cambridge and apart from heading off to university and a little time in London, I have lived here all my life. I have been to this West Road site since I was a little boy – trying to keep up with my dad as he walked through, visiting on school trips, I even laboured on a nearby building with windows that framed the library perfectly in 2003 to help me pay for university. I used to test my new cameras here WAY before I lost my mind and became an architectural photographer!
I guess I think about it more than most because of my profession, but buildings and their idiosyncrasies, for me at least, play a part in creating a sense of home. This one is a major part of my ‘home’. Over the years, they kind of become friends. Still standing throughout the phases of life. Steady. The way light is absorbed and reflected, the shapes and silhouettes they create through day into night, the atmosphere they emit, the smells even. And these change through the seasons as the sun path moves and the temperatures do their cyclical thing. You begin to recognise those patterns, whether it’s conscious or subconscious and with that familiarity comes comfort. Do you know buildings which evoke these feelings? Just me?! Some of you might have noticed two other examples with similar features in Leicester and Oxford which still stand today. Seeley Library's siblings – and this is the middle child.
So by full circle I mean that I can remember standing in this place dreaming of how brilliant it would be if someone actually asked me to photograph a building for them one day. And many years later here I am having photographed it. The very building which inspired my daydreams. It’s an honour to document a building with so much personal and historic importance. Thanks to the staff on site for being so accommodating and of course RH Partnership for asking (they had no idea of how special this place is to me!)