Library of Birmingham

Public Building


An inspiring project where the merits of a post-tensioned concrete frame were chosen over a traditional steel approach, resulting in significant cost savings and a sophisticated, award winning structure.

Building a better library for Birmingham was a challenging and inspiring project. We worked closely with our clients Carillion and A.J. Morrisroe to bring to life the elegant designs of the architects.

Our approach was holistic. We began by appraising the whole scheme from first principles and pictured the structure in its entirety. After this review we suggested a post-tensioned concrete frame solution instead of the originally planned steel frame. By using this incredibly versatile form of construction we were able to make significant cost savings.

It also allowed us flexibility and greater control when building the complex structure, which included a two storey high 10m cantilever and a 22m diameter central atrium with 28m long transfer walls.

The library was constructed using 21,000m³ of concrete, and the frame is reinforced by 3,000 tonnes of steel.

At the end of the project the team had achieved an award winning structure and praise from Birmingham Council for our ingenuity, efficiency and delivery of best value.

4317-162 – Resized
4317-093 – Resized
4317-054 – Resized
4317-183 – Resized
4317-014 – Resized

Key Facts

  • Client: Carillion/ A.J. Morrisroe
  • Location: Birmingham
  • Year: 2013
  • Summary:
    A new build library including both adult and children libraries, offices, a multimedia centre, cafés and an exhibition hall (amongst many more facilities). It won the 2012 PTA (Post-Tensioning Association) Building Award.

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