Matthew Key 0

Save University of Birmingham's Redbrick Library (or improve the plans!)

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To whomsoever is concerned, there have been some issues raised amongst the student community as to the plans which are currently in development regarding the construction of a new University Library. While none object that this development is much needed, given the poor nature and dilapidation of the interior of the current library, it seems surprising that the University has not thought to incorporate a traditional design into the design proposal. The current proposals seeks to demolish the red-brick façade of the library which is not merely of architectural note but in keeping with the University’s carefully crafted aesthetic.

It remains an obvious point to make: our University is one of the few in this country which has an architectural heritage to be proud of. We also have an unparalleled track-record in conservative architectural development: the Brammall Auditorium stands as testament to what conscientious architectural planning, coupled with a desire to provide cutting-edge resources for staff and students, can achieve. The country abounds in institutions which are pastiches of each other, products of an era of rapid educational advancement with little inclination towards architecture outside of brutalist or utilitarian mediums; there is no need for Birmingham’s architectural heritage to be sullied in this manner.

Birmingham as a city has been particularly affected by a scant desire to preserve buildings of architectural note and importance; and the post-war period to the close of the century saw the wanton destruction of many buildings of historical importance. 

It is with these concerns in mind that we, the undersigned, urge the Projects Department to reconsider the submitted proposal for the new library and consider a more traditional design or, at least, to not obliterate the front façade which, not only provides useful space, but stands as a monument to our University’s heritage.


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