Library of Birmingham

Birmingham, United Kingdom

Architecture, Interior, Landscape, Library

Size: 35,000 m2
Status: Completed
Project Design: 2008 - 2009
Project Realisation: 2010 - 2013
Address: 309 Broad Street, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Client: Birmingham City Council

Programme: BREEAM Excellent 35,000 m2 library with adult and children’s library, study centre, music library, community health centre, multimedia, archives, Shakespeare Memorial Room, offices, exhibition halls, cafes and lounge space, roof terraces, new shared auditorium (300 seats) with neighbouring REP Theatre, renovation of the REP Theatre, interior design and urban plan for Centenary Square.

Awards: Selwyn Goldsmith Award for Universal Design - Civic Trust Award 2015, Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award 2015, Architecture Podium International Award 2015, RIBA Stirling Prize nomination 2014, Winner BBC Britain's Favourite New Building 2014, RIBA National Award 2014, RIBA West Midlands Building of the Year 2014, Architects’ Journal Building of the Year 2013, Commendation for significant contribution to Town Planning in the West Midlands by Royal Town Planning Institute 2011.

More than just a building, the Library of Birmingham (LoB) designed by Mecanoo is a People’s Palace, a centre for learning, information and culture that unites people of all ages and backgrounds. The design extends the space of the street indoors.

A cantilevered volume not only provides shelter at the entrance, but also serves as a grand balcony with a discovery garden. The circular courtyard cut out of the square is a protected outdoor space that invites daylight deep into the building.

Visitors move from one floor to the next through interconnected and overlapping rotundas that provide natural light and ventilation. Ever-changing vistas unfold through the delicate filigree skin of interlocking circles, inspired by the tradition of metalwork in this former industrial city.

The prominent golden rooftop rotunda houses the Shakespeare Memorial Room from 1882.
Situated between the concrete Repertory Theatre (REP) from 1962 and the listed Baskerville House from 1936, the LoB transforms the largest public square in the heart of the city with three distinct realms for history, culture and entertainment.

At 35,000 m², the LoB welcomed over 2.7 million visitors in the first twelve months.

New workshops, staff accommodation and a 300-seat auditorium with foyer are shared by both the library and the integrated and renovated REP. The library attained a BREEAM excellent rating.

External links