The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

One step closer in fight to save Birmingham Central Library?

The C20th Society requested last March that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport spot-list Birmingham Central Library, as redevelopment proposals involved the building’s demolition.

Completed in 1973, the library is an excellent building designed by leading local practice John Madin Design Group in association with city architect J A Maudsley. Built in reinforced concrete and with an unusual inverted ziggurat profile which makes reference to Boston City Hall and, more distantly, Le Corbusier’s La Tourette monastery – one of the twentieth century’s architectural masterpieces, it holds a powerful presence alongside the art gallery and City Hall.

The Society believes that the quality of this building should be recognised by listing and that this well-planned civic masterpiece should be retained. The building is barely thirty years old. It is astonishing that rather than recognise the quality of this building, Birmingham is instead planning to raze it. The Society believes that this is an important post-war building, designed by local architects rather than a London-based practice, and forms an important part of the city’s cultural heritage. Although fashions of the 1970s have been re-assessed and mined for information by new designers several times over, buildings of this period are still very little understood and if it is demolished now then Birmingham will lose a great building before its importance has been recognised.

For further information please contact Claire Barrett on 020 7250 3857 or email at claire.barrett(at)
Eva Ling, local C20th Society representative, on 0121 449 1588

Note to Editors

Birmingham Central Library was designed in 1971 by local practice John Madin Design Group in association with city architect J A Maudsley and completed in 1973.