"We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us” – these great words of Sir Winston Churchill form a profound architectural truth that applies to both public and private buildings. For Birmingham’s new library this statement could not be more literal. Since its initial go-ahead in 2007, the design plans have been heavily influenced by the city’s cultural and industrial heritage. Now with the building officially open, the stunning new knowledge hub will inspire, educate and entertain thousands of visitors from around the country.
Named The People’s Palace by lead architect Francine Houben, the new Library of Birmingham is a project of outstanding execution. The 10-storey building is wrapped with a futuristic film of geometric cladding, drawing visitors to Centenary Square on which it sits.
As well as housing literary treasures such as one of the world’s greatest Shakespeare Collections, this new centerpiece comprises an adult and children’s library, study centre, music library, community health centre, offices, exhibition halls, café and lounge space and roof terraces. For more information on how this striking resource will shape Birmingham’s city, turn to page 28.
Elsewhere in this edition, we profile a striking array of projects from a sustainable woodland kitchen through to a well-respected arts venue that is aspiring to be the first carbon neutral theatre in the world. In industry news, Hilson Moran’s Sustainability Director Chris Birch reflects on the latest revisions to Part L of the Building Regulations and asks the question “was it worth waiting for?” Meanwhile, in this month’s Voice of the Industry Contour Casings explores how, as an industry, we can overcome one of the significant hurdles in BIM implementation – BIM components.
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