Birmingham icon approved

26 Nov 2009

Mecanoo Architects' Library of Birmingham passed through planning

A £193million investment by one of the UK’s largest cities is set to pay off following the approval of planning permission for a landmark building today. The Library of Birmingham and its grand circular open-air amphitheatre in front of the building will be used as a flagship for the regeneration of the city, tagged the Big City Plan, encouraging more projects and investment.

“We are juxtaposing culture and regeneration on a far greater scale than any other UK city,” said Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council. “Through the strategic investment of £193m, into a landmark for the region, we will lever in millions of pounds of investment. Already people are excited about the confidence we have in our future, and want to be a part of our story.”

The Mecanoo Architects-designed library will occupy a prime site on Centenary Square between the Birmingham Repertory Theatre (The REP) and Baskerville House. A shared entrance to the Library and The REP will be sheltered below a public balcony, creating a 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 spectacular views over the city.

The most dramatic feature of the 31,000 sq m library is its intricate metal filigree façade, inspired by Birmingham’s rich craftsmanship and industrial history. In all the 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.

Key Facts

Civic Buildings
United Kingdom

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