A few extra photographs from Birmingham City Library. Below you can see facade details clearly and the continuous, dynamic space mentioned in my last post. The route through the building ultimately leads to a viewing deck – it seems any modern cultural icon worth its salt must have one – and indeed it offers a spanning panorama across the city. This makes the building as much of an Eiffel Tower as a bibliothèque, touristic pulling power being the agenda – not all invited in are intended to inhabit.
Having said that there were many people using the IT suites, I am sure it offers vital resources to the community as well as being a spectacle for sightseers. The sheer scale of the facility infers that the collection of information, if not immediately apparent, is as vast as you may expect from the UK’s second largest city.
Birmingham as a whole has undergone a rapid transformation in urban renewal, the canal ways, shopping centres, bars, office blocks and public spaces have either been uplifted with sufficient investment or bulldozed to make way for a brand-spanking-new, gleaming structure. So far this has been delivered with varying success, but a shout-out has to go to some of the estate regeneration undertaken. Park Central, demonstrates how quality housing can be built integrating social rent and privately owned dwellings without segregation or the usual stigma.
I think the library so far, alongside the rebranded Grand Central Station (New Street), is the cherry on the proverbial cake for Birmingham. The city’s postindustrial renaissance has apparently arrived, a rebirth, but you can’t help question why it has taken so long to get the ball rolling especially when viewed in fair comparison with Manchester. Is a sleeping giant about to awaken? It at least has one eye open.