Book Review: Library Story: a history of Birmingham Central Library

Author: Alan Clawley (2015) Reviewed by Mike Fox Published in December 2015, the same month that demolition work started on Birmingham Central Library, Library Story charts the 42 year lifespan and ultimate demise of the city’s most iconic postwar building. In particular it is an account of the 16 year campaign to save it from destruction. Opened in 1974, Birmingham Central Library was a bold building by the architect John Madin. Aesthetically striking and at the time the largest municipal library building in Europe, it spoke of a new era, of a forward looking, civic minded Birmingham, with learning, arts, … Continue reading Book Review: Library Story: a history of Birmingham Central Library

SAVE’s alternative scheme for the Strand site, with architect John Burrell

This is the draft cover of an alternative scheme SAVE is working on with John Burrell of Burrell Foley Fischer for a group of buildings on the Strand that SAVE successfully campaigned to save in March this year. This is one of the central ways that SAVE works: we come up with working, practical alternatives to the proposed scheme, that are sensitive to the built environment and aim to create places of character and atmosphere that function well. For this scheme we are demonstrating how the previously threatened buildings on the Strand can be brought back into use and all the concerns … Continue reading SAVE’s alternative scheme for the Strand site, with architect John Burrell

The work of Theaster Gates: ‘A Super Share in Miracles.’

This week it was announced that American artist and urban planner Theaster Gates is coming to Bristol in October to bring new life to the city’s Temple Church where musical performance will take place round the clock for 24 days following his successes with a series of buildings in Chicago which he has brought back into use and restored with recycled materials, Gates’s magic touch is being sought all over the world. I first heard him on the radio a year ago on Radio 4’s ‘Zeitgeisters’ and he certainly is that. I have been following him ever since and quoting … Continue reading The work of Theaster Gates: ‘A Super Share in Miracles.’

Crossbones Memorial Garden, Bankside – a community-led transformation.

This is the story of the creation of a memorial garden on the site of an unconsecrated graveyard of mass and unmarked graves, most of which belonged to prostitutes and children. Rarely is there such a transformation from the dark to the light, and it has been driven by a strong local campaign group – Friends of Crossbones, led by author and historian John Constable who has written extensively about the site. The campaign has been taken up by the Bankside Open Spaces Trust, BOST, that has successfully raised a sum to create the memorial garden. This was one of … Continue reading Crossbones Memorial Garden, Bankside – a community-led transformation.