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Library of Birmingham, UK - 'A City Gem'

The Library of Birmingham, which opened in September 2013, is one of the most photographed of modern builds in the City. It is estimated to have cost £188.8 million to build. 

The building has been recognised for both its innovative design and for its positive social impact and has won a number of awards.The design team was led by Mecanoo, a Netherlands-based architectural practice and the build was led by Carillion.

What we found out

What difference has it made

Passions

Construction & regeneration, Modern Architecture

Project dates

08 Mar 2018 - On-going

Contact (for more details)

Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520
jonathan.bostock@ freetimepays.com

Modern Architecture
23 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Tour of the inside of the Library of Birmingham during September 2013

Welcome to a tour of the Library of Birmingham from my visits back in September 2013. My first visits were on the 21st and 28th September 2013. It was very busy. Loads of people visiting the library for the first time. Heading up the escalators between the levels. At the time the glass lift still worked, so you could go in that if it wasn't too busy. 9 levels plus the basement levels.

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Tour of the inside of the Library of Birmingham during September 2013





Welcome to a tour of the Library of Birmingham from my visits back in September 2013. My first visits were on the 21st and 28th September 2013. It was very busy. Loads of people visiting the library for the first time. Heading up the escalators between the levels. At the time the glass lift still worked, so you could go in that if it wasn't too busy. 9 levels plus the basement levels.


For this post we are only looking at the inside of the Library of Birmingham. So not the Shakespeare Memorial Room, Discovery Terrace or the Secret Garden (I'll leave those for future posts).

 

Originally the Library had revolving doors from Centenary Square (and also to the Discovery Terrace on Level 3). There is also a disabled door you can use by the press of a button. The revolving doors were replaced years later by automatic doors, as the revolving doors kept getting stuck. Also the glass lift from Level 4 to Level 7 stopped working after a year. Meaning you have to use the other lifts, or the stairs (if you can). There are escalators from Level G (the ground floor) to Level 3. Then a travelator up to Level 4. Access to Level 7 and 9 is by the lifts or stairs. Level 5 and Level 8 is for staff only. There is also the Library Cafe on the ground floor, and you can take you coffee up to the Mezzanine floor (also called Level MZ).

 

21st September 2013

Starting on the ground floor Level G, a look towards the entrance to the REP. On the left is the Library Shop. Where you can buy Birmingham souvenirs. I got in after 4pm that day.

The escalators from Level G to Level 1 was busy that day. On the left was a temporary exhibition, called The Pavilion

When it opened, Level 1 was originally called Business Learning & Health (this was before Brasshouse Languages took it over in 2016).

There used to be desks where you could work on your laptop or tablet on. WiFi early on was weak, but years later the free WiFi got better (well at least after I kept upgrading my smartphone every couple of years).

The escalators from Level 1 up to Level 2.

Next up was Level 2, which was originally called the Knowledge Floor. Around the core of this floor and the floor above is the Book Rotunda. There is a lot of old historic books around there.

Another area for studying and using your laptop or tablet with a view out to Centenary Square.

Now it was time to leave Level 2 for Level 3. Just had to go up the escalator to the next floor.

Now a look around Level 3, which was called the Discovery Floor at the time. This area was called the Mediatheque. Where you can watch films from a library collection (I think).

The Travelator that goes from Level 3 up to Level 4. That time it was set to go up on the right. Usually you go up on the left.

On the ride up, you can see the glass lift. And there was a queue for it waiting to go up to Level 7.

Level 4 was called Archives & Heritage. You can go through glass doors when you get to the top, or at the time use the glass lift (it wouldn't remain in service for long before it broke down - in fact it's not worked for years!).

I would have gone higher that day, but it was almost 5pm and that was the time that the Library of Birmingham closed for the evening. So heading back down the escalators through the Book Rotunda. At this point heading down from Level 3 to Level 2. Next up would be the escalator down to Level 1.

Heading down the escalator from Level 1 back to Level G, where you can see The Pavilion temporary exhibition on the right.

A look at the Children's Library which is on Level LG (Lower Ground Floor).

Back on Level G, and heading from the Library of Birmingham into the foyer of the REP.

28th September 2013

One week later, I returned to the Library of Birmingham to go all the way up to the top to Level 9 for the Shakespeare Memorial Room and Skyline Viewpoint. Got in much earlier this time, just before 1pm that day. This wall welcomes you to the Library of Birmingham. Was also a screen showing information about the exhibition on at the time called Dozens & Trails. This was on Level G.

This time I was able to get the glass lift up from Level 4 to Level 7.

Now on Level 7 after going up the glass lift. Here you can see the comfy red chairs in a staff only area of the Library. On Level 7 is the Secret Garden.

Views from Level 7 near the Glass Lift down to the floors below. You can see the travelator and the escalators down to about Level 2.

If you don't like heights don't look down! On this day the travelator was operating in the correct directions. Left side to take you down from Level 7 to 4. The right side to take you up from Level 4 to 7.

The escalators on Level 2 takes you to and from Level 1 (on the left) and to and from Level 3 (on the right).

There was also some comfy red chairs on Level 7. I used to sit on some of them on Level 3 to get onto the WiFi on my then smartphone.

On Level 7 you can see a staff office through the window from the corridor from the regular lifts and stairs. So you might see this if going to or from the Secret Garden (unless they have the blinds down).

That day I used the stairs to go down. Went a bit too far down to Level LG, and saw these desks with PC's on them. So had to go back up the stairs to Level G to exit.

That's it folks for this tour of the Library of Birmingham. It's changed a lot since it first opened 7 years ago.

For the next Library of Birmingham post, I could show you around the Shakespeare Memorial Room. It's on Level 9 near the Skyline Viewpoint.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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Modern Architecture
15 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Library of Birmingham and Baskerville House from 2010 to 2019

The view of the construction of the Library of Birmingham next to Baskerville House from 2010 to 2013. Then some other views in the years until 2019. Watch the cores of the Library rise, then the golden cladding then all the circles. Was even a view from where the Edward VII statue was installed.

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The Library of Birmingham and Baskerville House from 2010 to 2019





The view of the construction of the Library of Birmingham next to Baskerville House from 2010 to 2013. Then some other views in the years until 2019. Watch the cores of the Library rise, then the golden cladding then all the circles. Was even a view from where the Edward VII statue was installed.


Previous Library of Birmingham posts here:

Views of the Library of Birmingham next to Baskerville House. Construction from 2010 to 2013. Opened from September 2013. Views until the end of 2019.

2010

November 2010: views from the bridge on Centenary Way. The restored King Edward VII statue had just been installed in Centenary Square.

December 2010: slighty hazzy conditions at the end of the year.

2011

March 2011: A few more floors had gone up on the Library, up to about Level 3 or 4.

October 2011: The main body of the Library had reached the future home of the Shakespeare Memorial Room, while cladding had gone up to Level 3 or 4.

A perspective of the Library construction with Baskerville House from behind the statue of King Edward VII. Which had been in this spot for almost a year at this point.

December 2011: The rest of the golden cladding and windows goes up to Level 8. And the structure forms around the cylinder at the top where the Shakespeare Memorial Room and Skyline Viewpoint would be on Level 9. Cladding from Level 2 down to the ground floor was complete.

2012

November 2012: Only got a view from near the Alpha Tower towards the Library of Birmingham, Baskerville House and the Hall of Memory. From where I was would one day be part of the Arena Central development site.

2013

January 2013: A few days into the New Year and was these hoardings in front of Baskerville House. Cladding on the Library was complete.

The snow fall from the middle of January 2013. Can hardly see the Hyatt, while snow surrounds the Hall of Memory.

The snow was falling as I went past Baskerville House.

April 2013: From the bridge on Centenary Way. Compare to my earlier views from 2010 and 2011. From here the Library looked complete but wouldn't open for another 5 months. Flower beds were on the bridge over Paradise Circus Queensway.

August 2013: Near the end of the month, the hoards had gone, and the gardens opened up.

This landscaping would only last until about 2017 before Centenary Square was redeveloped again.

Broad Street panoramic including the Library of Birmingham, Baskerville House and Hall of Memory. Hanging flower pots in the middle. This is all now gone for Library Tram Stop.

September 2013: A few days after the Library had opened to the public for the first time, there was long queues as far as Baskerville House. I waited a couple of weeks more before going in for the first time.

I went into the Library of Birmingham for the first couple of times near the end of September 2013. Was still a lot of people around, but the queues were as long as when it first opened.

2014

November 2014: The Library of Birmingham had been open for 14 months and there was some scaffolding up on Baskerville House for some restoration work on the stonework. Poppies up for the annual remembrance commemorations.

2015

May 2015: A long queue on a Saturday morning at 11am to get into of the Library of Birmingham. Just two more years for this paving and the grass before Centenary Square was redeveloped again. Baskerville House shining brightly in the sunshine.

2017

December 2017: Nightshots for when the Library of Birmingham was lit up in all the colours of the rainbow when Birmingham was officially announced as the Host City of the Commonwealth Games 2022. Baskerville House lit up in bright white light. As was the Hall of Memory. Redevelopment of Centenary Square had started by this point.

2018

December 2018: Views of the Library of Birmingham from Bridge Street near the site of 5 Centenary Square at Arena Central (to date it hasn't been built). Formerly called 1 Arena Central. From here you could also see the BT Tower.

2019

December 2019: My last photos of the Library of Birmingham with Baskerville House were taken from Paradise Street, just beyond Town Hall Tram Stop. At the time Ice Skate Birmingham was in Centenary Square. Arena Central with the Alpha Tower and HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square to the left.

West Midlands Metro trams can now go past the Library of Birmingham. The extension to Centenary Square opened in December 2019.

For more tram photos in December 2019 at Town Hall Tram Stop see this post: West Midlands Metro tram in and out of Town Hall Tram Stop on the last weekend of the Birmingham FCM (December 2019).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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