Centenary Square, the largest public square in the heart of Birmingham, together with the library’s unique architecture has been given a new appearance. When choosing the clay paver, Wienerberger had the quite complicated task to establish an aesthetic balance between the old and the new, past and present, future and heritage.

Project details

Reference object

Redesign of the library square in Birmingham, UK

Architect

Mecanoo

Client

City of Birmingham

Pavers used

Dragfaced Chamfered Blue, Multi Brindled, Essen Red, Hannover Buff Brindled

Available formats

200 x 100 x 62 mm

Paved area

3.600 m2

The Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham, UK

The Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham

The Birmingham Library

The Birmingham Library

The Birmingham Library

The Birmingham Library

The Birmingham Library

The Birmingham Library

The Birmingham Library

The Birmingham Library

The Birmingham Library

The Birmingham Library

An honour for Wienerberger

“It is an honour for Wienerberger to be involved in such a magnificent project –  comprehensive considerations and the attention to detail, which were decisive for the implementation of this project, were the reasons why we were keen to contribute.” Keith Barker, Wienerberger Commercial Director
 
From the moment that it was unveiled in September 2013, the Library of Birmingham at Centenary Square has captured the imagination of the British public. The challenge Wienerberger was confronted with in this prestigious project wasn’t simply a matter of choosing the right paving to suit purely practical demands on the area, but it was a process that had to consider a whole gamut of geographic, architectural and historical requirements.

Symbiois of futurism and tradition

The paving of the square required a solution that would provide a link between the modernist external appearance of the library itself and the proud architectural heritage of the region, the Victorian red clay brick and terracotta building stock, which is synonymous with Birmingham‘s inner-city of centuries past. Despite its futuristic appearance, the design of the Library by Mecanoo Architects offers subtle references to the past in terms of both material and structure. With this in mind, it was crucial that the paving in Centenary Square was able to maintain this delicate aesthetic balance.

Red lines provide orientation

The style of pavers chosen needed to mesh with the design of the square into three distinct realms: monumental, cultural and entertaining. Dragfaced Chamfered Blue and Multi Brindled pavers by Wienerberger were selected along with the Essen Red and the Hannover Buff Brindled paver to create what Mecanoo calls the ‘red line’, which leads pedestrians into Centenary Square. The colours have also been carefully selected to match, contrast and cohere with the building. Combined with the different surface finishes of the pavers and the variation of bonds, including stretcher and herringbone bond, the intention was to maintain a vivid sense of textural depth.

Harmony instead of competition

Meanwhile, the project is firmly established as a major architectural landmark in Birmingham and indeed in the United Kingdom. Perhaps the greatest strength of the paving is that, despite the many important considerations of old and new, past and present, future and heritage, it has played the delicate supporting role that it needed to. The material variety of Chamfered, Multi and Buff Brindled pavers made it possible to compliment the architectural statement of the Library.
 
 

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