A look inside the Library of Birmingham

By on 09/12/2010 in Culture, News

Library of Birmingham - Open Air Amphitheatre - December 2010

As the first anniversary of the start of building work at the Library of Birmingham approaches, new design images released today offer a first look inside the building.

With the main service cores of the building now in place and the lower floor structures beginning to take shape, the images, produced by architects Mecanoo, provide members of the public with a preview of what can be expected when the library opens its doors in 2013.

The two new images show a concept view of the new outdoor amphitheatre in Centenary Square, as well as a first look at the central rotunda inside the library.

Operating as a main focal point of the building, the central rotunda features a breathtaking wall of books across several floors, with the image showing an improved environment with user-friendliness at its core. Wide travelators and escalators provide links between floors, while spacious public areas are flooded with natural light.

The outdoor amphitheatre, meanwhile, promises to become a hugely popular feature of the new building upon completion. Accessible from the music and children's sections of the Library of Birmingham, the amphitheatre will provide the perfect space for outdoor performance and activity which can be viewed from onlookers in the above Centenary Square.

Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “I helped start the building work at the Library of Birmingham in January amid weather conditions not dissimilar to those we have seen recently, and it's remarkable to see how much progress has been made since then. The project is running on time and with savings in the budget, and this is testament to the hard work of the project team and our construction partners.

“The images released today prove that the Library of Birmingham will be a people's palace at the heart of the city, offering the clearest indication of what the building will offer upon completion.

“We now look ahead to 2011, which promises to be another year of remarkable progress. Construction milestones in the next year will include the topping out of the concrete frame, the installation of glazing, and the application of the distinctive frieze, and I'm confident that the public will be delighted with the results as this world-class building continues to take shape.”

Library of Birmingham - Central Rotunda - December 2010In addition to the newly released images, the new year will see the unveiling of a new 'flythrough' video which will offer the most in depth look so far inside the Library of Birmingham.

New features to be included in the library include a teenage zone for young people to relax, meet friends and chill out, and a contemplation room for prayer and quiet thought.

The building will also boast two garden terraces, providing the idyllic setting to read, relax, or to enjoy the stunning views across the city.

Meanwhile, accessibility will be greatly improved thanks to wide, level access from Centenary Square, a spacious open plan foyer and generous circulation routes. In addition, four public lifts will be large enough for wheelchair and pushchair manoeuvres.


Media Enquiries
Roulla Xenides or Tom Parker, S&X: 0121 604 6366
Simon Houltby, Birmingham City Council: 0121 303 3503

Click on the following link to download images: http://www.flickr.com/photos/birminghamnewsroom/sets/72157621164198944/ 
Notes to editors - Library of Birmingham background information.

  • The Library of Birmingham will be a major new cultural destination, rewriting the book for 21st century public libraries. It opens in 2013.
  • Designed by international architects Mecanoo, the Library of Birmingham will be located in the city's Centenary Square. The building will comprise a spacious entrance and foyer with mezzanine, lower ground level with indoor terraces, four further public levels and two outdoor garden terraces, a ‘golden box’ of secure archive storage occupying two levels, provision for staff offices and service plant on a further two levels and at the very top of the building a rotunda feature housing the Shakespeare Memorial Room. In all, the facilities are spread over 10 levels of varying size and usage.
  • The new library will be physically connected to Birmingham Repertory Theatre (The REP) and the two organisations will work in partnership, bringing together the written and spoken word through drama, poetry and performance.
  • The Library of Birmingham will provide a showcase for the city's internationally important collections of archives, photography and rare books. New facilities including state-of-the-art gallery space will open up public access to the collections for the first time. It will also be home to a BFI Mediatheque, providing free access to the National Film Archive. Other facilities will include a new 300 seat studio theatre, an outdoor amphitheatre and other informal performance spaces, a recording studio, and dedicated spaces for children and teenagers. By harnessing new technology, everyone from Birmingham to Beijing, Bangalore and beyond will be able to access the Library of Birmingham's world-class resources. More than three million visitors are expected each year, and millions more online.
  • Described by its architect Francine Houben as a 'people's palace', the Library of Birmingham will be highly accessible and family-friendly. It will deliver excellent services through collaboration between the library, The REP, partners and communities. It will provide a dynamic mix of events, activities and performance together with outstanding resources, exhibitions and access to expert help for learning, information and culture. As a centre of excellence for literacy, research, study, skills development, entrepreneurship, creative expression, health information and much more, the Library of Birmingham will change people's lives.

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