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  1. ArchDaily
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  3. Demolition Begins On John Madin's Brutalist Former Library in Birmingham

Demolition Begins On John Madin's Brutalist Former Library in Birmingham

Demolition Begins On John Madin's Brutalist Former Library in Birmingham
Demolition Begins On John Madin's Brutalist Former Library in Birmingham, The former library
The former library

Work has begun on the demolition of the UK city of Birmingham's former Central Library, designed by home-grown Brutalist architect John Madin. The move by Birmingham Council to not retain the structure of the library, in spite of ideas and petitions put forward by numerous public groups (including one titled Keep The Ziggurat), has been widely met with disappointment among the architectural community. The BBC recently compiled some of the most interesting ideas for reuse which included, among others, transforming the concrete structure into a new English Parliament, an international trade centre, and an enormous space for rock climbing.

Madin, who passed away in 2012, had at least three of his major Modernist projects demolished during his lifetime. His design for Birmingham Library had been met with criticism from the likes of the city's Director of Planning and Regeneration of the time who described it as a "concrete monstrosity." Prince Charles famously described it as "looking more like a place for burning books than keeping them."

See photographs of the former library under construction and in use after the break.

View of the former lending library Interior perspective view of the proposed library (date unknown) John Madin's Library under construction (1971) Aerial view of the completed former library + 12

Interior perspective view of the proposed library (date unknown)
Interior perspective view of the proposed library (date unknown)
Interior perspective view of the proposed library (date unknown)
Interior perspective view of the proposed library (date unknown)
Orthographic drawings
Orthographic drawings
John Madin's Library under construction (1971)
John Madin's Library under construction (1971)
Aerial view of the library under construction (1971)
Aerial view of the library under construction (1971)
Aerial view of the completed former library
Aerial view of the completed former library
View of the former lending library
View of the former lending library

The site of the former library will become home to a £550 million development (Paradise Circus) that will feature offices, retail outlets and a 250 room hotel. One Chamberlain Square will be designed by Eric Parry Architects, whilst Two Chamberlain Square will be designed by Glenn Howells Architects.

Two Chamberlain Square / Glenn Howells Architects (left), and One Chamberlain Square / Eric Parry Architects (right). Image Courtesy of Paradise Circus
Two Chamberlain Square / Glenn Howells Architects (left), and One Chamberlain Square / Eric Parry Architects (right). Image Courtesy of Paradise Circus
Proposed buildings for the site of the former library. Image Courtesy of Paradise Circus
Proposed buildings for the site of the former library. Image Courtesy of Paradise Circus
Proposed buildings for the site of the former library. Image Courtesy of Paradise Circus
Proposed buildings for the site of the former library. Image Courtesy of Paradise Circus

The library's RIBA Stirling Prize shortlisted replacement, known as the Library of Birmingham, was designed by Dutch practice Mecanoo and opened its doors in September 2013. Birmingham City Council also recently ran a competition to find a new design for Centenary Square, the major public space that is faced by both the new and former libraries.

London Calling: On Fondness

About this author
James Taylor-Foster
Author
Cite: James Taylor-Foster. "Demolition Begins On John Madin's Brutalist Former Library in Birmingham" 07 Jan 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/584390/demolition-begins-on-john-madin-s-brutalist-former-library-in-birmingham/> ISSN 0719-8884
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