According to Yahoo! News this morning, the website VirtualTourist.com has come up with a list of the World’s Top 10 Ugliest Buildings and Monuments. Reuters did not endorse this list.” [Disclaimer - I went to VirtualTourist.com and couldn't find this list myself.] Here’s the Yahoo! story: Travel Picks: 10 top ugly buildings and monuments – Yahoo News
What caught my attention is that one unfortunate library, Birmingham Central Library in Birmingham, England, made the list. Naturally, I felt bad for them! However, after visiting its website, I want to send to Birmingham Central Library a message of solidarity. The reason stated for placing this monumental library building at number nine on the ugliest buildings list is its “Brutalist” style of architecture. Here’s a photo from the library’s website: http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?CONTENT_ITEM_ID=1581&CONTENT_ITEM_TYPE=0&MENU_ID=260
We too have a Brutalist style library.
As we’ve been planning for a major remodel and expansion of our library over the past two years, I’ve actually come to develop an appreciation for this style. In essence our entire campus is built in this style, and, while some joke that it was done so that the buildings could be used as a prison if the University should fail, I think there is a certain appropriateness to both the aesthetics and scale of our buildings. We are perched on a hilltop out in the prairie with awesome views of the mountains to the West and the plains to the East. Our library is definitely a strong landmark! And, I argue, its stark style and vintage 1960s look is almost “cool” again. We definitely plan to enhance but not try to disguise the original style of the building.
However, I am looking forward to better lighting and less “vintage” furnishings!
Brutalist Libraries of the world unite!!