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Old 08-29-2013, 08:14 AM   #1
Bilbo1967
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New library in Birmingham - Europe's largest

From the BBC website, the new Library of Birmingham. This is a five minute walk from where I work, so I'll be visiting next week

Quote:
The new Library of Birmingham - opening next week - is believed to be Europe's largest public library. But despite striking modern architecture, a room from the 19th Century has been recreated inside to house one of the UK's most important Shakespeare collections.
I'd be interested in people's opinions on the external look of the place - it's had mixed reviews here. The recreated 19th Century room looks pretty cool to me (it's shown in the video at about 2:30 onwards for the impatient ones among you).
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:19 AM   #2
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WOW. Extremely impressive.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:01 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bilbo1967 View Post
From the BBC website, the new Library of Birmingham. This is a five minute walk from where I work, so I'll be visiting next week

I'd be interested in people's opinions on the external look of the place - it's had mixed reviews here. The recreated 19th Century room looks pretty cool to me (it's shown in the video at about 2:30 onwards for the impatient ones among you).
The inside is gorgeous! But the exterior is ghastly! I keep expecting some knight in shining armor to jump out of that chainmail it's wrapped in.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:07 AM   #4
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The inside is gorgeous! But the exterior is ghastly! I keep expecting some knight in shining armor to jump out of that chainmail it's wrapped in.
Kind of puts me in mind of the razor wire they string around prison perimeters. Oh, but what a nice prison inside.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:10 AM   #5
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Kind of puts me in mind of the razor wire they string around prison perimeters. Oh, but what a nice prison inside.
Help, I'm surrounded by books and can't get out
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:16 AM   #6
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Now my library has a competitor for the most horrid looking exterior

Seattle Public Library

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Old 08-29-2013, 10:33 AM   #7
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I like the pattern on the outside, but the massing is just off to me and the chainmail just seems so tacked on and separate in some views. In other views it's quite striking, but on the whole it's leaving me underwhelmed on the outside.

The inside is also hit and miss for me, sometimes wonderful, sometimes too impersonal. It does look like a fun space to photograph compositionally.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:51 AM   #8
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Whoever deisigns these places should be locked up on an island somewhere. So they cant do any more harm.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:52 AM   #9
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Whoever deisigns these places should be locked up on an island somewhere. So they cant do any more harm.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:59 AM   #10
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The inside is gorgeous! But the exterior is ghastly! I keep expecting some knight in shining armor to jump out of that chainmail it's wrapped in.
Couldn't agree more.
I visit Birmingham once a year for a conference and so have been following the development of the site for while, from building site to finished article. The artist's impression of the exterior, shown on the hoarding, made me cross my fingers that the finished item would be better than it looked. WRONG.
The exterior is hideous - a monstrosity even. The architect must have tried really hard to design something that ugly. Interlocking hoops of steel - of various sizes - hmmm and colours. If I'm being incredibly generous it might look passable from a great (and I mean a very great) distance, on a dark night with your eyes half-shut...but close to it's an epic fail.
Have I made my opinion clear?
PS And you would have thought Birmingham learnt their lesson with ugly buildings...
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:16 AM   #11
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Now my library has a competitor for the most horrid looking exterior

Seattle Public Library

Doesn't even come close
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:26 AM   #12
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Personally, I quite like it. It's certainly a bit different, and maybe an acquired taste, but compared to the old library (formless, grey concrete) it's much better. I seem to recall people having similar reservations about the Selfridges in Birmingham when that went up but that seems to be accepted, even loved, now.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:31 AM   #13
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I seem to recall people having similar reservations about the Selfridges in Birmingham when that went up but that seems to be accepted, even loved, now.
...that's even worse. What planet did that come from?
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:30 PM   #14
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I didn't mind the Library's exterior too much, but it was a bit too busy for my tastes.

That Selfridges building though...

I don't think I could ever use that walkway - too much like climbing through the trunk and into the sinuses of a cyclopean elephant/whale hybrid.
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:57 PM   #15
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Aside from the bizarre grating on the exterior, I think it looks very, very nice!
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