I never pass up an opportunity to praise the great city of Birmingham and see myself engaged in a crusade to protect it against the unfair barbs so casually and caustically lobbed at it. My job becomes even easier when the Venice of the Midlands (you heard!) unveils superb new buildings like the new Library of Birmingham designed by wonderfully-named Dutch firm Mecanoo Architects.
The staggered, four block structure creates a variety of terraces for al fresco bookwormery while the metal rings on the facade reference the city’s proud industrial heritage and its world-famous Jewellery Quarter.
Francine Houben who led the project for Mecanoo had never set foot in the Second City (pipe down Manchester) before 2008, and she said: "Our dream is to create a People’s Palace: inviting, welcoming, inspiring for all ages and backgrounds – a real public building that also creates an outdoor public space.
“It is intended to become the social heart of the city; a building connecting people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. The modern library is no longer solely the domain of the book – it is a place with all types of content and for all types of people.
“With its rotundas and its façade, the building is an ode to the circle: an archetypical form that embodies universality, infinity, unity and timelessness.”
Bombastic hometown pride aside, I genuinely think it looks brilliant; an architectural statement to rival the increasingly iconic Selfridges building which has become the symbol of the city.
- Enter your work for the chance to be an It’s Nice That Graduate of 2016!
- Kyle Weeks’ photos portray the traditional and contemporary identity of the Himba people
- Ace & Tate commissions Hanna Putz to launch its Creative Fund
- Smart geometry-led identity for east London venue Brilliant Corners by Studio Remote
- Superb designs by Bureau Mirko Borsche for Tush magazine
- Artist Mona Hatoum electrifies the senses in her first retrospective at the Tate Modern
- Don't Hug Me I'm Scared - an exclusive interview with Duck, Red Guy and Yellow Guy
- Yoshinori Mizutani captures the colourful, rain soaked commuters of Tokyo
- Poem Baker photographs the Jûngølā drag clowns of London’s Deptford
- Stack founder Steven Watson shares five of his top magazines
- Photography: New show at LCC shows young travelling communities of the 90s
- Hilarious and charming new Maynards Bassetts' Liquorice Allsorts ad by Jack Sachs