‘It’s the building with the huge golden knob on the top,’ said the handsome soldier recruiting in Victoria Square. He had real leadership potential — I found it immediately — the Library of Birmingham.
He could have said, ‘the three tier cake with squiggly icing, or ‘the Spirograph Building,’ that would have found it too.
You can’t judge a book by looking at the cover and neither can you judge a library from the outside. Judge the inside for yourself–
And at the very top, the golden knob illuminates the whole — the hole in the bibliographic doughnut.
Next to this enormous roof-light is the Shakespeare Memorial Library, remember we are near to the birthplace of the bard. This has travelled through time and space and been given new life on the roof of this iconic building, designed by Francine Houben of Mecanoo Architecten and opened in 2013.
Nothing is perfect though: the glass lift was out of order, to the great relief of my lift-phobic friend, and the route to the top was through a warren of corridors, the ceiling of which I could easily touch — two meters perhaps.
‘Why so low?’ asked friend (her son is 6’8” tall).
‘Mistake!’ said I (having run out of head-room in our barn conversion), ‘Still, at least there are no beams!’