When is a library one of the most popular attractions in an entire country? When the library is a stunningly modern and open library in one of England’s urban centers. The Library of Birmingham, England, is the largest public library in the UK, the biggest cultural space in all of Europe and the biggest regional library in Europe. It is also the 10th most popular visitor attraction in the U.K. This is no easy feat in a country that is home to Big Ben, The Tower of London and Buckingham Palace. So what makes Birmingham’s Library so special?
The Birmingham City Council decided to commission an international design competition when it decided to build a new library. The Royal Institute of British Architects came up with seven architects over a list of more than 100 applicants. Buro Happold and Mecanoo won the competition in 2008. The results were a spectacular library that is a completely transparent glass building. The building is situated in the Palazzos Centenary Square, which is the second biggest public space in Birmingham.
Houben described his intention as creating a “people’s palace,” and he delivered. The Library of Birmingham is family-friendly and accessible to all. It collaborates with others in the community, including the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
The library brought cohesion to the entire area. An amazing rooftop rotunda houses the Shakespeare Memorial Room, which originally opened in 1882. The room retains its Victorian qualities courtesy of the original wood from the first Birmingham Central Library. The large roof is visible from all sides of the square.
The elevators and escalators are clustered in the middle of the library, joining together the eight circular spaces in the building. The rotundas provide lightness to the entire building. The library is also outfitted with an acquihire ground source system in order to limit its energy consumption. This means cold water is pumped up from below and then used in an air conditioning system. Water then goes back into the ground. This reduces the emissions associated with the library.
The facades were designed to block the hottest rays of the sun during the hottest points of the day, since they have reflective materials and maximum shading.
A circular patio was cut out of the square, resulting in a beautifully protected outdoor space, which also lets daylight penetrate the deepest recesses of the building.
In 2015 the library received almost 2 million visits, making it the most visited tourist attraction outside of London. The archives are available to everyone thanks to modern technology.
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Originally posted 2016-07-20 22:03:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter