John Madin

Goodbye old friend- Madin’s Central Library

A photographic blog post of John Madin’s Central Library prior to it’s demolition.

John Madins Central Library is now in the progress of being demolished as it makes way for the redevelopment of the Paradise Circus area. I was saddened when I first heard the news and when the demolition programme started in January it was the final nail in the coffin of the long campaign to save the building from the crawls of the bulldozer truck.

I’m a massive fan of the building and a believer that Brutalism can be beautiful, however I can also understand that the Library was an obstacle standing in the way of connecting two significant parts of the city centre. It’s a shame that it couldn’t have been incorporated into the new masterplan and even though it was a controversial building which polarised opinion I think it will be missed by many.

It is also another John Madin building which has failed to be preserved and sadly his architectural legacy within the city centre seems to be fading (with the demolition of the NatWest tower on Colmore Row also planned). Considering he is the most famous and influential 20th century architect to be associated with Birmingham it seems odd that the impact he made on the city is being erased. Some people may think this is a good thing but I think it is a mistake to simply forget the dramatic transformation the city undertook during the post war years. This time in history deserves some credit or recognition and I think it would be a fitting tribute to Madin if one of his buildings within the city centre was retained.

Below is a selection of some photos I took at the beginning of the year to document the library before its final fate.

Central Library

Central Library

Central Library

Central Library

Central Library

More information:

More details of the current proposals are here: Paradise Circus Website

Check out my blog post on the redevelopment: ‘Paradise Circus Redevelopment…a chance to reconnect the city.

Keep the Ziggurat Website

 John Madin Website


2 replies »

  1. Birmingham will come to regret this, just as it came to regret allowing the demolition of the original Victorian library.

    • Yup I agree. Birmingham does tend to have this habit of erasing it’s past and starting all over again. All three libraries were/are iconic buildings of different styles, representing different eras…it’s a shame they can’t all stand together along side each other, would make for a interesting architectural composition.

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