First Look Inside New Library of Birmingham

15 December 2010

Internal design images offering the first look inside the Library of Birmingham have been unveiled.

Capita Symonds is project and cost manager on the scheme which will comprise ten floors - nine floors above ground and one below ground - and is expected to attract up to 10,000 visitors per day. The development will also include a new flexible circa 300 seat studio theatre which will be shared by both the library and the adjoining Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

With the main service cores of the building now in place and the lower floor structures beginning to take shape, the images, produced by architects Mecanoo, provide members of the public with a preview of what can be expected when the library opens its doors in 2013.

The two new images show a concept view of the new outdoor amphitheatre in Centenary Square, as well as a first look at the central rotunda inside the library.

Operating as a main focal point of the building, the central rotunda features a breathtaking wall of books across several floors, with the image showing an improved environment with user-friendliness at its core. Wide travelators and escalators provide links between floors, while spacious public areas are flooded with natural light.

The outdoor amphitheatre, meanwhile, promises to become a hugely popular feature of the new building upon completion. Accessible from the music and children’s sections of the Library of Birmingham, the amphitheatre will provide the perfect space for outdoor performance and activity which can be viewed from onlookers in the above Centenary Square.

Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “I helped start the building work at the Library of Birmingham in January amid weather conditions not dissimilar to those we have seen recently, and it’s remarkable to see how much progress has been made since then. The project is running on time and with savings in the budget, and this is testament to the hard work of the project team and our construction partners.

...I’m confident that the public will be delighted with the results as this world-class building continues to take shape...

“The images released today prove that the Library of Birmingham will be a people’s palace at the heart of the city, offering the clearest indication of what the building will offer upon completion. We now look ahead to 2011, which promises to be another year of remarkable progress. Construction milestones in the next year will include the topping out of the concrete frame, the installation of glazing, and the application of the distinctive frieze, and I’m confident that the public will be delighted with the results as this world-class building continues to take shape.”

New features to be included in the library include a teenage zone for young people to relax, meet friends and chill out, and a contemplation room for prayer and quiet thought.

The building will also boast two garden terraces, providing the idyllic setting to read, relax, or to enjoy the stunning views across the city.

Meanwhile, accessibility will be greatly improved thanks to wide, level access from Centenary Square, a spacious open plan foyer and generous circulation routes. In addition, four public lifts will be large enough for wheelchair and pushchair manoeuvres.

The building is being constructed by Carillion Construction.