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Library of Birmingham named building of the year

Architects' Journal readers overwhelmingly selected the £188 million Centenary Square library as their favourite building of 2013

Library Of Birmingham

Readers of the UK's leading architecture magazine have voted the Library of Birmingham as their building of the year.

In an online vote, Architects' Journal readers overwhelmingly selected the £188 million library in Centenary Square as their favourite building of 2013.

Announcing the winner on its website, Architects' Journal wrote: 'With its new building Birmingham has made a bold civic statement at a time when financial pressures are forcing cities across the UK to close their libraries'.

Looking into the amphitheatre at the Library Of Birmingham
Looking into the amphitheatre at the Library Of Birmingham
 

The 10-storey building, clad in aluminium rings, was designed by Dutch architecture practice Mecanoo and officially opened on September 3 by Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old schoolgirl who made Birmingham her home after being shot in the head for daring to campaign for girls’ education in her native Pakistan.

Prince William was given a guided tour of the building during a Royal visit to Birmingham on November 29.

In a recent interview with the Birmingham Post the man charged with making the Library of Birmingham a success has said he believes it will be at the centre of the city’s economic revival.

The library opening was a critical and popular success achieving world wide coverage for Birmingham and has already received more than one million visitors.

But businessman Keith Bradshaw, who chairs both the Library Trust and Strategic Board, believes that the library has to be made to work a lot harder to justify its price tag especially as the rest of the public sector in general and the city’s branch library network in particular, are facing cuts for years ahead.

Mr Bradshaw argues that the library can be a catalyst for economic revival.

He said: “It is not just about literacy and reading. Children of secondary school age need to read and write and identify what they are good at and what skills they need to help them lead a productive life.

“But there’s no point in giving people skills if they can’t get the jobs. So we need to develop skills that industry wants. It needs inward investment, good education, skills and jobs. This library cannot do all that but it can be a catalyst for other people.”

 

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