The Library of Birmingham

Following my countdown to the launch of the Library of Birmingham, setting the scene, Centenary Square ambitions, Mecanoo's ambitions, countdown to 11am launch, the new Library of Birmingham designs were launched at 11am.

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The design will naturally attract supporters and critics alike but by being the central focal point of Centenary Square it will be an icon and stand proudly at the heart of the city's cultural and civic quarter.

The link with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, which will share the library’s exhibition space and a cafĂ©, is an imaginative attempt to ensure that the library really is accessible to the entire community. There should be no doubt that the ultimate purpose of the library is to make books easily available to the people of Birmingham.

The library is also a bold statement of Birmingham's continuing ambition and it's drive forward, even in the current recession, but is also a crucial statement for Council Leader Mike Whitby after previous schemes have come and gone and business leaders have suggested Library of Birmingham tipped to lead city out of recession.

The ten-storey building covering 31,000 square metres of floor space including subterranean levels will open in 2013 with the building covered in a delicate metal filigree.

Image and video stills reproduced from

The design has already got support from Birmingham Historian Carl Chinn and architect Joe Holyoak. Carl Chinn who liased with Houben during her visits to Birmingham said the design was "inspirational" while Joe Holyoak noted the interesting similarities to the existing central library.

Chinn said “I am excited by it. It is big, and perfect for the space. The spirograph effect of the metal gives movement to the building. I love the curves inside the building and the amphitheatre out on the square is inspired.”

Architect Joe Holyoak, a member of the Friends of the Central Library, was also impressed. He said: “It can be a good occupant for the space, it fills the gap. “I am also surprised at how similar in composition it is to the existing library. The materials are different with glass and metal instead of concrete, but it is similar.”


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