Next week this library in Birmingham, England, designed by Dutch firm Mecanoo Architecten—the same architects behind the kickass Maritime Museum in The Netherlands that won an Architizer A+ Award—will open to the public, officially being thrown into the ring (along with perhaps Baghdad's new library and the Peabody library in Maryland) to fight for the title as the world's prettiest place to check out a book. At some 377,000 square feet, the filigreed structure is also the largest library in Europe and cost a whopping €186M, or $246M to realize. The design itself—sorry, the "spacial narrative"—is meant to reflect various architectural eras of the city, including the 1960s concrete building that is Birmingham's repertory theater and the 1936 sandstone Baskerville House. And while the place boasts a smörgåsbord of fancy library delights, including a Shakespeare Memorial Room and community health center, the design's real grand gesture is its façade, essentially an mesh of circular '70s-ish motifs wrought and woven atop an edifice of blue, citrine, and slate—"a rich and layered tectonic palette," as Design Boom writes. More photos, below.
· Mecanoo Architects Unveil Filigreed Birmingham Library [Design Boom]
· All Libraries posts [Curbed National]