It is estimated that up to 13 million people a year walk past the high-tech Library of Birmingham in the UK. At 31,000 m2, it is one of the largest public libraries in the world. Also accommodating modern new back-of-house facilities for the Rep, the new construction development covers a total of 35,000 m2.

 

Dutch architects Mecanoo captured imagination

Europe’s largest public building was designed by internationally acclaimed Dutch architects Mecanoo. They have conceived a building to capture the imagination and provide an exciting showcase for the library’s impressive collections and rich cultural programs brought alive with the help of new digital technologies.

 

A ‘people’s palace’

The library is there for everyone, regardless of age, background or circumstances. Architect Francine Houben of Mecanoo describes the Library of Birmingham as the – a highly accessible and family-friendly place that welcomes all.

 

1 million books house in glass, silver and gold facades

The building is spread over 10 levels and comprises four box-shaped structures that are staggered to create various canopies and terraces. Strikingly, the exterior is clad with a filigree pattern of concentric metal rings over glass, silver and gold facades. It houses over one million books in both an adult and children’s library, has more than 200 computers with public access, a music room, theatres, a cafe and an exhibition gallery.

 

Watertight concrete for the terraces

During the construction phase, a cost-effective, guaranteed watertight solution was required for the concrete basement and terraces. The Sika® Watertight Concrete System was specified for both applications. On the terraces, Sika® Watertight Concrete was chosen as a secondary defense should the waterproof decking above become damaged and allow water to penetrate. 1,000 m³ of Sika® Watertight Concrete were supplied to the project.

 

Admixtures against water penetration

The guaranteed Sika® Watertight Concrete System offers a comprehensive solution in the waterproofing of concrete structures. State-of-the-art Sika admixtures are added to the concrete to prevent water penetration. The system is completed with carefully selected water stops for construction and movement joints to produce a waterproof structure.

 

Learning by reading

This place is true testimony to why reading is so important. Books, magazines and the Internet are great learning tools which require the ability to read and understand content. If you can read, you can educate yourself in any area of life you are interested in. We live in an age that is overflowing with information, but reading is a smart way to take advantage of it.

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