Work has begun on the demolition of the Central Library Building so it seems prudent to write a blog about the BPN Competition entry for the Re-imagine competition which proposed a scheme that kept the building.
We proposed taking a slice out of the inverted ziggurat form of the reference library that would open up the pedestrian route that is shown in the approved Glenn Howells Architects master plan for the Paradise site. The cut exposes the dynamic arrangement of spaces within the library and floods them with natural light. These spaces are filled with a multitude of bars, cafes and studios. The lively spaces juxtapose the austere exterior and spill out into the public spaces around.
Thinking behind this being that if the central slice is removed then a vista would be created which we would hope would bring a sense of there being more natural daylight into the slice and this would make people more comfortable to use the spaces beneath the building.
Birmingham is repeating a cycle of demolition and rebuild in an attempt to always appear to be up to date and this is unsustainable. Our proposal aims to bring a new lease of life to a building that could and should be saved for so many reasons.
If you would like to see our sheet submissions to the Re-Imagine competition scroll down this blog. We have also created a moving image version that can be seen on this link: Civic Society_BPN comp entry moving image.
The BPN submission to the Re-Imagine competition was just one of many proposals for the re-use of the library. The Birmingham Post put together a great article which showcased the submissions and is well worth a quick look.
For further information about the Library there is information all over the net at the moment. We would recommend you take a look at The Friends of the Central Library group blog called Save the Ziggurat as this is always up to date with info and is a good record of the petition to save the building.
The BBC have written a great article called ‘Birmingham Central Library: What else could it have been used for?‘ which lists the many schemes that have been proposed to re-use the building.
Our Lorna Parsons gave a Pecha Kucha on the Six Men documentary back in 2010 which is definitely worth a peek if you want to learn a bit more about John Madin [link to this can be found here: http://vimeo.com/channels/pknbham/15059742].
Although it is a bit too late to petition to save the building there is a Wake being held in Chamberlain Square on Saturday 31st January 2015 at 11am where we can all show our support for the building. And before heading to the wake have a read of the ’15 facts about Central Library to commemorate (or celebrate?!) the passing of the library written by I choose birmingham issue 64 which is a weekly e-magazine which gives a brief put thoroughly in-depth list of info about the building. It really is an amazing list!
BPN will be sad to see the library go as we are all fans of Madin’s buildings and feel the loss of this building is one more nail in the coffin of a time in history that Birmingham seems adamant to erase.