Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Brum's new face, the Birmingham Central Library

New Central Library of Birmingham
New Birmingham Central Library

After more than two years of intense construction activity, the new Central Library of Birmingham finally opened the 3rd of September. With theaters, music rooms, a new art gallery and, of course, books, this huge Library is due to be a truly point of reference in Birmingham UK and Europe's culture complexes. But this building is only one step of a much more ambitious plan...

Birmingham is the second largest city in the United Kingdom, it has a healthy industry, well known universities in the UK, an interesting cultural life... but even with that, Birmingham doesn't have a "brand". Indeed that's not true, Birmingham has an inherited reputation of industrial city, "grey" or "dump" have been associated with it for so long that, even it that's not so true anymore, it's still in the common thoughts when an outsider thinks about Brum. That's obviously not good for Birmingham, it slow its grown and it keeps invests away, so is not an option to consider, it's a necessity to re-brand the city.

And here we go back with the new library. As I said this is not only a complex focused in being a reference in Culture, this is also one important step for a bigger plan, the Westside Developement of the Birmingham Big City Plan (I have the intention of write about this in the future).


Paradise Circus Developement
The next step is simple, demolishing the old library and building brand new ones. If you take a look to the renders and the plan it seems to be a quite "Brindley Place II" Project, and the result appears to be quite far more integrated with the historic buildings than the old one, but have we learnt the lesson?

I mean, at the end of the day, Birmingham's old Library is maybe an ugly building, but it has character, it's an example of the architecture of his age and, in the future, it could be appreciated as that, are this new buildings giving us that or they are going to be so old as the old library in 40 years time?

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