Dutch architects library design will act as flagship for regeneration
The design by Dutch architects Mecanoo Architecten for the £193 million Library of Birmingham in the UK was unveiled today by the Leader of Birmingham City Council, Mike Whitby.
Scheduled to open in 2013 the Library of Birmingham will occupy a prime site on Centenary Square, the city’s largest public square, acting as the flagship for the regeneration of Birmingham, and celebrating the city's tagline of the ‘Global City with a Local Heart’.
The 31,000 sq metres building will provide 20% more space than the existing Birmingham Central Library and will be capable of taking up to 10,000 visitors a day. The highly transparent glass building wrapped in a delicate metal filigree, is inspired by the rich history of Birmingham, with its tradition of craftsmanship and industry. The generous shared entrance to the Library and the Repertory Theatre (REP) will be sheltered below a public balcony, creating a magnificent space to watch events in the square. Above the balcony, the building volume steps away, creating a second open-air space, an elevated garden with panoramic views. At the summit, the rooftop rotunda will offer spectacular views over the entire city.
The interplay of overlapping rotundas inside the building will create constantly changing vistas as visitors ascend to the public levels, not only aiding navigation but also bringing light and ventilation throughout. The highest levels of energy efficiency will be achieved through the buffering capacity of the building mass and the atria and the use of sun shading and reflective materials.
A grand circular open-air amphitheatre in front of the building will create a dramatic visual link between the Library at Lower Ground Level and Centenary Square, providing natural light and a sheltered outdoor space for staging events.
The REP will be renovated and equipped with updated back of house facilities, new workshops and new staff accommodation. In addition, brand new foyers and a new 300 seat studio theatre will be created to be shared between the REP and the Library.
The new Library of Birmingham will be a library designed to function around the rapidly developing digital technologies, creating new opportunities for learning and access, and providing a social heart for Birmingham’s diverse community.
The Library of Birmingham development is a flagship project of the Big City Plan, focusing on the regeneration of the city, the most far-reaching city centre development project ever undertaken in the UK. The Big City Plan will drive forward the next 20 years of development in central Birmingham to revive and open up whole areas of the city with a £17 billion investment and the aim of creating 43,000 jobs for Birmingham people.