Squaring the circle - Library of Birmingham July update
It's the final countdown, with only 46 days to go (47 yesterday when the above picture was taken) until the new Library of Birmingham opens on the 3 September 2013. Work to prepare Centenary Square ahead of the opening is moving ahead revealing a meadow of green tranquility and the encircling of the amphitheatre space in front of the library. Rapid progress has been made since my previous update of June 7, Library of Birmingham June 2013 Update, with the contractors' portacabins removed and new planting revealing an oasis of calm that will compliment the terrace gardens in the sky to produce a space to learn, reflect, pause and enjoy for residents and visitors.
The terrace gardens feature over 150 plant varieties, supplied by Boningdale Nurseries, http://prolandscapermagazine.com/boningale-grows-10000-plants-for-library-of-birmingham/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=boningale-grows-10000-plants-for-library-of-birmingham.
The Dutch architects, Macanoo, specifically called for shade-tolerant, indigenous plants because the terraces are shaded by other buildings. “The architects wanted to create a ‘carpet’ effect with contrasting foliage, interesting movement and long flowering periods,” explained Steven. “After carefully examining the brief, we selected 150 suitable varieties and spent the past year growing all the plants to specification to ensure that the customer’s aspirations were fulfilled.”
Fruit, herbs and vegetables were selected to create “an allotment in the sky” on one roof, while the other is filled with varieties of indigenous woodland plants such as Liriope, Lamium, Tiarella, Geranium and Hosta to produce the colour and texture for the carpet effect.
Away from the visible external works, progress continues to be made in stocking the shelves of the new library and transferring across the old Central Library, which closed for good on 29 June, http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/gallery-goodbye-birmingham-central-library-4731792.
This update, reproduced from BrumCityCentre.com, shows the June update from contractors Carillion and the beautiful interior coming together.
Preparations have also been made to deal with any pesky pigeons or seagulls that might want to enjoy the new terrace gardens. Weekly visits by falcons and hawks will be used to frighten off these birds from settling on the building, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-23244979.
Centenary Square 17 July
Centenary Square 14 July
REP Extension 14 July
View from outside looking into the work taking place inside - 14 July
Architect Francine Houben described the building as a 'people's palace' and Project Director of the new Library of Birmingham Brian Gambles has said he hopes it will be highly accessible and family-friendly. It's a definite must for the city as it get's a new cultural and civic heart to compliment the retail heart it regained ten years ago this year in the new Bullring shopping centre.
With free access to the National Film Archive and world-renowned collections including an outstanding collection of photography together with a building that, even in it's construction, attracts photographers to capture it's impact on the city's architecture the building will be a multi-media audiovisual explosion.
I hope that visitors get to capture their experiences in a way that wasn't so freely encouraged in the former Central Library by allowing photography freely. It may even be an exciting opportunity to create a peoples photography collection recording people's views on the city and the library in gathering these together for a year - creating a 2013/14 year in the life of Birmingham collection to record transition for future generations.
The opening of the new library will be accompanied by a 4 Square Festival with events in the city's squares to celebrate it's opening,
Major weekend of arts events to celebrate opening of Library Of Birmingham.
The 4 Squares Weekender will feature free shows by UK-based and international artists in and around Victoria Square, Centenary Square, Chamberlain Square and Oozells Square in Brindleyplace from September 6 to 8.
The celebration weekend culminates on Friday and Saturday evenings in the large scale show As the World Tipped by Aerial Theatre in Victoria Square.
The events, featuring the CBSO and Birmingham Royal Ballet amongst others, will also see free attractions in the Town Hall and Birmingham Museum and also the IKON Gallery slowboat, a narrow boat floating gallery, moored in Brindleyplace while the Birmingham REP will see it's reopening accompanied by a series of performances over the coming months including new play People by Alan Bennett, http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/whats-on/theatre/alan-bennetts-new-play-people-4052920.