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Modern shine replaces solid brutalism

This building opened in 2013, an extravagant design that was seen as a flagship element of the revitalisation of the centre of Birmingham.  I spent many an hour in the old Central Library in my student days, and I am sad that has now been demolished. It was an impressive brutalist structure, lacking the exterior brightness and show of this new structure, but I liked its solidity and seriousness. Prince Charles did not agree, though, saying that it looked to be “a place where books are incinerated, not kept”.

Despite my nostalgia for the old building, I am impressed by the bright, young architecture of the new library, and pleased that the old Shakespeare Memorial Room, dating back to 1882, was transferred to this new home.


Copyright Debbie Smyth,  8 March 2019

Posted as part of Lens-Artists

3 replies »

  1. I was very impressed with the building when I visited Birmingham a few years back. I like that it makes the library so prominent, so flashy, like “it’s fun to go there, something exciting is happening”, not a dull, dour, forbidding structure (don’t know what the old one looked like, I’m just commenting on the impression I got from the new one).


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