Library of Birmingham

Library of Birmingham

Architect
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Location
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Category
Libraries

Library of Birmingham

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners as Architects

The library floors are arranged as a clear, flexible system, sheltering beneath the great roof. An elliptical zone in the centre, designed to support the high loads of the library stacks, form the main spine of this space, from which a series of lighter petal-like floors are attached. These areas contain the main activities of the library, with views out and maximum daylight penetration. The spaces in between accommodate the structure for the great roof and vertical circulation cores. Reversing the traditional organisational model of the library, the benefit of this arrangement is to place the precious library holdings at the heart of the building where they are visible and yet protected from the potentially destructive influence of ultra-violet light and temperature and humidity fluctuations.


The primary circulation system forms an edge to the new street where a simple, legible system of glazed galleries linked by lifts and stairs celebrates movement, creating a dynamic and active vertical zone overlooking the street. The building sits on a great terracotta base integrated into the park, and extends to provide an appropriate scale of urban connection with the surrounding streets. A system of broad steps and terraces further defines the relationship between the library and the park.

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