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TIME TO TURN THE PAGE

17-06-2009

Birmingham Central Library

Friends of the Central Library campaigner Alan Clawley has waged a wonderful guerrilla war against Birmingham City Council over its efforts to replace John Madin’s 1973 building with a new structure in Centenary Square. But there is another side to the story – put eloquently by Andy Munro.

I read yesterday’s Birmingham Post ‘exclusive’ - er, based on the previous day’s Stirrer article - about the Library not being in danger of falling down…more’s the pity even though it provides excellent ammunition for that patron saint of redundant buildings Alan Clawley.

The revelation is all a bit academic when you consider the layout of the current library whose entrance is more like a speakeasy than one befitting the supposed flagship library of the UK’s second city.

The escalator(pity I can’t use a plural here ) is a joke and moves at a pace that would even make my 98 year old Mum impatient.

The alternative lift is about as frequent and reliable as a British Rail train used to be although it probably doesn’t matter for visiting academics and archivists whose pace of life would make a tortoise look frantic.

And what about the outside which has been described as ‘brutalist’ by architect buffs and apparently worth keeping. On that basis perhaps we should list half the buildings in Chelmsley Wood?

As regards the new library, I think we not only need something that works better than the current monstrosity but has a bit of a ‘Selfridges’ type edge. I’m sick of the mediocrity of most of the architecture appearing in the last 30 years and the only dilemma is that I don’t know whether to cry or yawn.

Mind you ,in making these comments I have to declare an interest because one of the major benefits is that it would open up a gateway into the Jewellery Quarter where I work!

Andy Munro would like to point out that 'my views are personal and not those of the City Council'

DISCUSS THIS ON THE OLD LIBRARY VS NEW LIBRARY THREAD ON THE STIRRER FORUM
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