Opened on 3 September 2013, the Library of Birmingham has fast become one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. With a build costing around £188 million, the Library has gone on to win a number of design awards. How did the Library transform from a car park to an iconic structure? Here it is in pictures:
Located in Centenary Square, the Library of Birmingham sits on a site which was once a car park, next to the REP Theatre. This final site was decided after much deliberation by Birmingham City Council in 2006.
The facade of the building is clad in metal circles, forming a geometric pattern. A large roof terrace is full of lush planting including a wildflower meadow, encouraging a recent architectural trend for bringing greenery to a city using high rise buildings.
The public car park functioned until 2009, while in 2008 a shortlist of architects were selected during an international competition. In August, Mecanoo and Buro Happold were selected as the winners.
In 2009, plans for the Library were were unveiled, and building works began shortly thereafter in 2010.
The building was opened in September 2013 by Malala Yousafzi, a young girl who survived a Taliban attempt on her life and now campaigns for women’s rights from Birmingham.
The building is centred around a large, circular stairwell. Higher floors look down into the basement of the library.
The futuristic design has large escalators and curved book-cases housing over 400,00 books on the public floors.
The Amphitheatre is a modern interpretation of Roman design, where an amphitheatre was traditionally used for gladiatorial shows and horse racing.
The new Library of Birmingham has a wealth of facilities, including over 200 public access computers, spread over 9 floors.
The Gallery, sharing artwork and photography exhibitions cements the Library of Birmingham’s position as a cultural hub. Visitors also benefit from the panoramic city views.
Images of construction property of Birmingham Newsroom. Images of Library of Birmingham property of Harry Cock for Library of Birmingham.