Lost in and around Paradise

Following planning approval for the first phase of the Paradise development, http://birminghamcentral.blogspot.com/2012/07/paradise-circus-spins-into-planning.html, in September 2015 the first three planning applications for two new office buildings and redevelopment of Chamberlain Square gained approval.  The two new office buildings, One and Two Chamberlain Square will sit on the site of the former Central Library and to allow this to be demolished there will be road closures and changes to pedestrian routes around the development.

Paradise Square One Chamberlain

Designed by Eric Parry Architects, One Chamberlain Square (above) will be an elegant, curved, seven-storey building bounded by Centenary Way, Congreve Street and Chamberlain Square. 172,000 sq ft of office space, including a large roof terrace at the sixth floor level, will be delivered along with restaurant and retail uses on the ground floor.

Paradise Square two Chamberlain

The adjacent, seven-storey Two Chamberlain Square (above) has designed by Glenn Howells Architects which oversaw the masterplanning for the full Paradise development.
The building will complement the historic setting, with a five-storey portico fronting onto Chamberlain Square and stepping back at the sixth floor with a roof terrace.

The image below shows the road closures and changes required to facilitate the demolition.

Diversion information, reproduced from: Paradise Birmingham Phase 3 Transport Leaflet

Pedestrians are also affected and the demolition will see routes skirt around the former library to allow it's demolition.

Reproduced from: Paradise Birmingham Phase 3 Transport Leaflet

Pedestrians got the first sense of the impending demise of former Central Library with the removal of the statues of Joseph Priestley and James Watt in September, http://www.paradisebirmingham.co.uk/2015/09/three-monuments-in-chamberlain-square-to-be-moved/

My photos below show one of the empty plinths and the statue of James Watt holding a ring which i've centred on the corner point of the old central library.

BrumCityCentre.com, the city centre neighbourhood forum blog notes that demolition of the former library is due to start in November and be completed by June / July 2016 with work to be undertaken by contractors DSM and involving two giant 65m high demolition cranes which will be positioned in the north-east and south-east corners, https://brumcitycentre.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/paradise-what-is-really-happening/

The cranes will use giant jaws to nibble away at the concrete structure.

For fans of the former library this will be a visibly sore point in the long history of its fate.  Many, myself included, would perhaps like a small piece of the concrete structure as a souvenir of a brutalist building, reminiscent of those bits of the Berlin Wall which were taken as souvenirs.  Perhaps even a small section could find it's way into the neighbouring Museum & Art Gallery's Birmingham history gallery.


Anonymous said…
It's beyond me how anyone can see the bland replacement buildings as anything more than vandalism.

This comes down to one thing: belated revenge for the perceived error of having knocked down the original library.

Birmingham is, as ever, out of step and five years behind, as the kind of architecture used in the Central Library - Brutalism if you must - is now considered very important.

Birmingham is repeating the mistakes of the past with this senseless destruction. Not to mention your comparison of the site to the Berlin Wall, where 138 people were killed, which is crass in the extreme.

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