- Date: 3 October 2013
- Area: Midlands
The new library of Birmingham. Credit: Jas Sansi
Last month saw the opening of the Library of Birmingham dubbed the People’s Palace, by architect Francine Houben of Mecanoo. Although it marked more than just the opening of the iconic building, it is symbolic to a whole new way of working in Birmingham, placing the library at the heart of cultural life, joining the newly refurbished and redeveloped REP theatre.
The opening weekend was celebrated by the 4 Squares Weekender presented by the Birmingham Arts Partnership – the informal partnership of leading arts and cultural organisations in the city - to offer a weekend of arts and cultural events across Birmingham’s city centre squares which was funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts scheme.
Highlights included As the World Tipped, a late night spectacular show in Victoria Square involving a vast 12m screen and fearless aerial performance, presented by Birmingham Hippodrome and Wired Aerial; Nofit State Circus with their contemporary circus stunts; live music from Musical Youth and Tippa Irie on The Drum’s Simmer Down Stage; and Town Hall Symphony Hall’s transformation of Centenary Squares into a Musical Picnic. Oozells Square became a ‘clayground’ as Ikon Gallery encouraged visitors to build a giant city from clay.
Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England said: “It’s fantastic to see the Library of Birmingham open to the public following years of planning and investment. The project demonstrates the ambition and vision of all those involved.
“The library shows the importance culture plays in regeneration and while the investment is not cheap the longer term returns both economically and socially are almost incalculable.
“The 4 Squares Weekender celebrated the opening in style and visitor figures have revealed that 27% per cent of attendees were under 16 and 56% travelled from outside Birmingham to enjoy the cultural event.”
If you haven’t visited the library yet more details can be found here.