The Library of Birmingham has been included in a set of new Special Stamps issued by Royal Mail that celebrate ten iconic buildings, representing the renaissance of contemporary architecture in the UK of recent years.
Designed by Mecanoo, the Library of Birmingham has been envisioned as a “people’s palace” – a grand structure that celebrates the importance of learning but which also “promotes the informal” and “seduces people into coming in”.
The exterior of the ten-storey building is wrapped in broad bands of gold and silver cladding, overlaid with a filigree pattern of interlocking circles in thin sections of aluminium. Inside, a large cylindrical void rises through the centre, criss-crossed by blue-lit escalators and giving access to many different uses.
Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The Library of Birmingham has become an iconic part of the city’s skyline and it attracts visitors from around the city, the UK and the world who come to see our Shakespeare collection, beautiful terraces and admire its architecture. I’m thrilled Royal Mail recognise it as a landmark building.”
Francine Houben, Founding Architect of Mecanoo, said: "Our dream was to create a People's Palace: inviting, welcoming, and inspiring for all ages and backgrounds. Where visitors embark on a journey of discovery, moving from one floor to the next through a sequence of rotundas. The repeating circles of the facade create a continuously changing world of light, shadows and reflections inside the building. To have a building on a UK stamp is a great honour for a Dutch architect."
Philip Parker, Stamp Strategy Manager, Royal Mail, said: “These new stamps celebrate visionary buildings which combine stunning architecture with great engineering.”
The images on the stamps capture the distinctive lines and shapes of the structures that have become famous landmarks.
Also featured in the set are: the London Aquatics Centre; the SEC Armadillo, Glasgow; the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh; Giants’ Causeway Visitor Centre, Northern Ireland; the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff; the Eden Project, St Austell; the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool; the IWM North, Manchester and the Blavatnik Building – formerly Switch House, Tate Modern, London.