Monday, December 14, 2009

The New and The Old

The new library just won the GGB BDP Building of The Year Award.

Fenestration News (if you want to know about glass walls)

Cardiff library at e-architect.

BD Online, the architects' site - a review of new buildings in Cardiff.
Here's Owen Hatherley:
"The library, part of the same development, is mannered on the outside; a barcode facade meeting copper cladding, with the entrance to Wagamama clearer than that of the library itself. The interior is better, balancing activity and quietness with a hint of brutalism about the materials."

One phrase from BDP Chairman Tony McGuirk struck me oddly, though, as he is quoted as saying "The first step of genius was to place the library at the centre of the street, the second step was to create an architecture both externally and internally that creates an irresistible place for people to spend their learning time".
The Old Library I agree that it is a good looking building, but as to its location, the 'stroke of genius' seems to closely resemble the design decision made back in 1882, when what we now call The Old Library was placed right in the middle of The Hayes, next to the market. And its opening day was declared a public holiday! They really knew how to do grand openings back then! :-)

The extended version, with the wonderful south-facing facade, was later inaugurated by The Prince of Wales himself, in 1896 - as anyone willing to pop over to Wikipedia would know - and the building remained in use as a library until 1988.

I wonder if this new one will last 92 years?

Oh, and the Old Library is still functioning, by the way, over a hundred years later, but now as a tourist and information centre.
Here's an interesting exhibition inside it (dig those interiors! Some of our staff remember that place. I was a customer back then, I never worked there) : The Cardiff Story.

But don't mind me, I only work here in The New. And my office is pleasant enough...
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