The Library of Birmingham, UK

Date Built
Centenary Square
The new Library of Birmingham occupies a site on the edge of Centenary Square not far from the 1970s library it is replacing.  In a time when buildings are given nicknames like "Gherkin, Cheese Grater and Walkie Talkie", it seems reasonable to speculate that this one may be called the Wedding Cake because of its rectangular stacked appearance.  Mecanoo, the building's architect, explain that, "The Library of Birmingham is a transparent glass building.  Its delicate filigree skin is inspired by the artisan tradition of this once industrial city. ......

.... Elevators and escalators dynamically placed in the heart of the library form connections between the eight circular spaces within the building.  These rotundas play an important role not only in the routing through the library  but also provide natural light and ventilation. .........

 .....  The rooftop rotunda houses the Shakespeare Memorial Room, designed in 1882. This Victorian reading room is lined with wood from the first Birmingham Central Library. ...

.........  a shared theatre and foyer space will be created for both the REP (Birmingham Repertory Theatre) and the library ....

.... The addition of soft landscaped roof spaces will further enhance the immediate surrounding conditions. .....

......  The circular patio cut out of the square creates a protected outdoor space and invites daylight deep into the building."

The Library says of its new building that, "The Library of Birmingham provides a showcase for the city's internationally important collections of archives, photography and rare books. New facilities including state-of-the-art gallery space open up public access to the collections for the first time. It is also home to a BFI Mediatheque, providing free access to the National Film Archive. Other facilities include a new flexible studio theatre, an outdoor amphitheatre and other informal performance spaces, a recording studio (opening in November 2013), and dedicated spaces for children and teenagers."

- Here are some more images -


- The construction phase -

- September of 2011 -

- June 11 2013 -

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