Opening date set for new Library of Birmingham

As the completion of the new Library of Birmingham approaches, the public opening date has been announced.

The new library, which replaces the both maligned and iconic Central Library, will open for business on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

The principal contractor, Carillion, will actually release the new building to Birmingham City Council next April. However, at least 12 weeks will be needed for final fit out, IT, technical and catering testing and staff training. The three to four month period will also see the transfer of more than 1.5 million books.

The confirmation of the opening date comes a year after the topping out ceremony of the Mecanoo design.

Comprising 10 concrete floors – nine above and one below ground, the project is being built at a cost of £188.8 million. As well as the industrial concrete flooring, more than 21,000 cubic meters of concrete is being used, along with 3,000 tonnes of steel and 30,000 cubic metres of other construction materials.

Though a futuristic golden box is the ultimate ambition of the design, the façade will hark to Birmingham’s industrial past. The metal lattice will echo the canals, gasometers and tunnels from which the city was essentially developed.

The previous building was supported by twelve reinforced concrete columns, had its external structures in unclad reinforced concrete and featured exposed concrete floor throughout. Prince Charles once branded it as:

“a place where books are incinerated, not kept…”

Though many others loved the 1970s building, it has repeatedly failed to gain listed building status, and is now set for demolition.

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