YOUR CHOICE….BIG, JAMMY CREAM CAKE OR TINY CRUMB?..BOTTLE OF WINE OR SIP OF BRACKISH WATER?  HUGE, CRISP, HIGH RES PHOTO OR CRAPPY, POSTAGE STAMP SIZED EXCUSE FOR ONE? GIVE THE INDIVIDUAL SHOTS A CLICK!  YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE.

Birmingham has a new library.

The outside, with its chain mail circles, divides opinion..But what new building ever didn’t? I haven’t really made up my mind..Some aspects I like, some I don’t, but I do hope its going to last a bit longer than the last one. It managed a total life span of only 39 years..1974 to 2013…I’ve seen caravans in use for longer than that!

lib1jpegThe new library is certainly a different kettle of fish to the upside down, brutalist wedding cake of the last one where visitors had no choice other than to read between the lines..Grey concrete lines..

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Here you’ve got colour and curves..Hundreds of them.

lib7jpegOn the first of the observation decks you can have a marvellous time photgraphing large reflective ellipses that are dotted amonst the beds of the roof gardens.

lib8jpegBirmingham has never looked quite so much like a city from one of the newer Star Trek movies.

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Inside is a little more somber…Well it’s a library, it should be…Currently the stacks are anything but full, in fact one thing there seemed to be a bit of a lack of was books, but hopefully that will be addressed..You’d hope so, wouldn’t you?

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The circular theme pops up everywhere.

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And everywhere there really is a rather wonderful sense of subdued light…At least on a bright day there is..Maybe I need to go back when its pissing down!

Finally, there’s the Shakespeare Memorial Room.

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Originally built in 1882 by John Henry Chamberlain as part of the Victorian library that was demolished in 1974, this has been rebuilt and given pride of place in a rotunda at the top of the new building.

How bonkers is that?

All Images Copyright Stuart Allan Hyde

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  1. tgpw

    Great work…! On my first visit to the library I was completely blown away – not with the exterior, I think we’d all had plenty of time to kind of get used to that; but with the interior – I found the feeling of space and functionality exceptional for a public building that certainly seeks to be more than ‘just’ a library.

    Reply

    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      Yes I agree..the sense of space really surprised me..(apart from a couple of incredibly narrow corridors on the higher levels…so narrow they seem almost unsafe).
      The main public areas were certainly a bit of a revelation…Functional indeed, but also genuinely comfortable and welcoming.
      🙂

      Reply

    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      I suppose, given that moves from traditional formats to digital are happening so quickly, and across all medias, that there may well come a time when the concept of a central library might become more than a little left field….
      Glad you like the shots Vit.
      Thanks for popping in.
      🙂

      Reply

    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      It is a rather spiffing room isn’t it?
      AND it would solve your vertical storage issues…BUT it is one hell of a climb to get up there..There’s a lift part of the way but then another 136 steps….
      It nearly killed poor old fatty Mr Shpics.

      Reply

  2. ryangroves3d

    nice play on reflections there! I’ll have to give this place a visit I’ve only ever seen it from a distance on my way to shoot snowhill. Interesting building, certainly gets people talking even if it is mostly for the wrong reasons! ha

    Reply

    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      Funnily enough Snowhill is on my to do list….Amazingly I’ve never been in since it was redeveloped, I got incredibly upset at the demise of the old one (which I loved), so never seem to have got around to it..
      MUST put that right.

      Reply

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