Library of Birmingham

The new Library of Birmingham will be a major cultural and educational resource for England's second city and a potent engine of urban regeneration. The library, replacing the city’s failing 1960s building, is to be located in Birmingham's Eastside, an area previously isolated by ring-road and now the subject of regeneration development proposals.

The brief for the project was far more than the replacement of the existing facility, which is one of the best-stocked and most heavily used public libraries in Britain. It also incorporates a vision of the library as a learning resource open to all, an inviting place where books are provided alongside a wide variety of other media. The collections include the remarkable Shakespeare Library and a photographic and print archive of national importance. The practice’s aim was to respond to and anticipate the ongoing needs of a large and growing body of users, while also creating a building that will be a cultural landmark and symbol of renewal.

Given the nature and size of the building, and its importance both to the city and to the region, the project team engaged in an extensive public consultation process that targeted more than 10,000 people. This process involved a wide range of events, from formal presentations by the design team, to informal events including lectures, graphic displays, discussion groups and the distribution of comment cards to the general public. A key benefit of the consultation process is the differing perspectives and aspirations voiced by the community at large – an invaluable input which has had a significant impact on the ongoing brief development and project design.

Project data
   
Location Birmingham, England
Type Education
Dates 2002 -
   
Area
   
Gross Internal Area 35,000m²
   
Costs
   
Total Cost £130,000,000
   
Client Birmingham City Council
   
The Architect Richard Rogers Partnership
   
Team  
Andy Bryce, Ed Burgess, Maxine Campbell, Justin Lau, Carmel Lewin, Jack Newton, John McElgunn, Jon Mercer, Richard Rogers, Graham Stirk, Andrew Yek
   
Quantity Surveyor Gleeds
   
Services Engineer BDSP Partnership
   
Structural Engineer Arup