Out with the old and in with the new

Yesterdays post was of the old Central Library taken from the observation level of the new Library of Birmingham (which can be seen in the image below) – which design do you prefer?


17 Responses to “Out with the old and in with the new”

    • adrianpym

      It is Mark, the interior is many times better than the old Central Library and the viewing levels, with gardens outside, and a panoramic view of the city are memorable. Worth a visit if you are ever in Brum.

  1. Chillbrook

    Can’t say I’m terribly keen on either Adrian to be honest, the brutalist architecture of the early ’70’s vs, vs.. well I’m really not sure what this is. I really don’t get it and don’t really understand how architects like Mecanoo get to have this kind of thing built. In my opinion, which doesn’t count for much admittedly in the grand scheme of things admittedly, architects are always trying to do something different and the rest of us, at least 9 times out of 10 if the history of modern architecture is anything to go by, end up paying the consequences for these hideous experiments. I haven’t been inside so I can’t comment on the interior but poor old Birmingham, bombed to obliteration in the 2nd World War, ever more to be condemned to these kind of structures periodically being put up while the city seeks a new architectural identity.

    • adrianpym

      I here what you say and agree the old library was abysmal, but the new one, despite its strange design, is growing on me. A bit like the Selfridges building that opened 10 years ago and is now an iconic, and much photographed, building in the city centre.

  2. simonhlilly

    Do you remember the original library? A lovely spacious, domey thing lined with books, just down from its replacement at the top of New St. Never really liked the strange concrete spaces ( though for some reason it has become a regular dream motif), so hope the new one is better…

    • adrianpym

      I don’t Simon, but I did find a time lapse video recently, of its demolition, and the building of its monstrous concrete replacement. Fascinating video and such a shame to demolish the original library only to replace it with an upside down wedding cake made of concrete.

      • simonhlilly

        At least some parts of Birmingham are looking quite good these days, though there are still remarkably ugly, messy bits as well…

  3. Stuart Hyde - shpics

    Hi Adrian…
    Seen them now!
    Funny really ….I know the old concrete lump was a plug ugly thing, but I reckon I must have a good couple of hundred shots of it and the area around ‘Paradise Place’…..Photogenic in an ‘Apocalypse Brum’ kinda way.

  4. LensScaper

    I see photographic potential in both buildings. The old library building has a layered structure, which appeals to me, the new one is intriguing. I heard about this building in the press not long ago and thought I must go see it. The figures provide a sense of scale. Is it lit at night?

  5. Graham Stephen

    Looks like it provides a marvellous vantage point. Can’t say I’m particularly struck by the overly intricate decoration, but it does look fascinating nonetheless.


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