The city council have said that whatever the result of English Heritage’s attempt to get The Central Library listed, they still intend to knock it down.It’s nice to have city planners with vision, but we’re allowed to disagree when we think they’re wrong and I do here.
Quite a few people have raised objections, which the council won’t listen to, but so far I don’t think anyone has voiced an opinion on what should be done. One of the main arguments against keeping the library is that the whole ‘paradise’ development cuts one side of the city centre off from the other — I think this is quite valid and the council is obviously keen to have events in Centenary Square, and people do see the divide as an effort to cross.
The council want to be able to see the Town Hall, they think the library cramps it — but the beauty of the library is similarly cramped by truly horrible buildings.
So, lets open it up — and knock every bit of Paradise Circus apart from the library down.
Get rid of the Copthorne hotel, Adrian Boult hall, Paradise Place, and leave great a great expansive ‘city space’ with Central Library and the Town Hall as one end, the new library and ICC at the other. A huge place for shows, gatherings, meetings, tree ringed, maybe a couple of European-style kiosk cafés in the centre.
Yes, I said new library, let the council build their new library, we can use the old one for something else (in part perhaps all the books they’re thinking of chucking). Something else that needs no light, server farm, whatever?
Paradise Forum becomes a huge contemporary art space, the new library is a digital library, with swathes of electronic access to whatever the future can bring. The beautiful central library stands as if Birmingham’s Pompidu Centre, in it’s beautiful ugliness.