Unfortunately work has started today on demolishing John Madin's iconic 1974 brutalist gem, Birmingham Central Library. Although there have been many trying to oppose the demolition and give new life to this amazing building ultimately the developers and council have won. Aware that the old library was due for demolition I visited Birmingham in October last year to add it to my Beautiful Brutalism project.
Having only seen it in photographs it was a joy to see in real life and to photograph it myself. It is a really impress building with great use of concrete, I spent about 3hours exploring and photographing the site. I was drawn in by the bold geometry and of course the famous inverted ziggurat, which I believe is/was the only example left in the world. The scale of the building is amazing and inside the open atrium, with the cantilevered floors of the library, was beautiful.
After just 40 years to demolish this building is very narrow minded, it could have been re-used and given a new lease of life but instead a generic development of shops, offices and public spaces will be built so that Birmingham City Centre will look like every other city centre in the UK. I'm glad I got to visit and photograph it but having the building remain for years to come as a great example of Brutalist Architecture would have been a better outcome.
My Beautiful Brutalism project and the rest of the images of Birmingham Central Library can be seen here.