WHAT architecture - London

Street Works

Scale sqm
LocationHunter Street, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Design Year2011



Each year over 120 million unsold books are turned into pulp fiction. 2010 figures from the Publishers Association show that bookshops returned 10 million books to publishers in Australia alone. These are titles that no one wants to read and are being shredded, pulped or sold on market stalls at a fraction of their original price. Celebrity works are some of the lowest sellers: Cherie Blair is said to have received a $2million advance for her autobiography yet her book ‘Speaking for Myself’ only sold 23,412 hardbacks and 10,240 paperbacks. This means her advance was worth considerably more per book ($60) than the income the book itself generated (RRP $25.99). The publisher, Little Brown Book Group, could have given the book away for nothing and tripled its readership. The overprinting-underselling phenomenon explains the rise of book mountains. Nielsen Bookscan, for example, has found that of the 86,000 new titles published in the UK in 2009, 59,000 sold an average of just 18 copies!


This project ‘Pulp Fiction’ is for a pop-up Public Library, which, across its 1.5km of shelving, continuously ‘recycles’ books that otherwise, would have been pulped. No lending card is required as its 100,000 books can be freely taken. Pulp Fiction Public Library is manifest as a continuous wall of books that encapsulates, emphasises and frames existing urban objects (monument, bench, lamp post, steps) to create a landscape of ‘reading refuse refuge’ away from the noise and traffic of a busy city intersection