The Library of Birmingham couldnt be more different from its predecessor, the Birmingham Central Library – a Brutalist concrete structure that is a labyrinth of corridors and escalators inside. The new library, which is due to be finished in the summer of 2013, is a glass building, colourful and full of light, and will certainly be a more contemporary and attractive addition to Birminghams cityscape.
It will also be much more than a library. The new building will share a reception and box office desk with the Birmingham Rep Theatre, and within the building there will be an outdoor amphitheatre, music centre, exhibition gallery and a gilded 10th-floor Shakespeare pavilion. Supporters of the library hope that it will show other libraries how to adapt in response to an ever changing, digitalised society.
The new library is just part of a cultural and architectural regeneration that has made Birmingham a thriving centre of business and innovation. The Bullring, which was completed in 2003, and the office developments in Brindley Place and other canal-side locations have helped to make Birmingham an attractive place to locate a business. This has been supported by innovations in business accommodation; in particular, there are now a number of Birmingham serviced apartments in the centre of the city. Some of these, such as the serviced apartments in the Rotunda building, make the most of Birminghams heritage by restyling old architecture with contemporary furnishings and facilities.
Birmingham is one of the UKs most populous cities, but its importance as a cultural destination is often forgotten. The city is home to a number of theatres, as well as one of the countrys oldest cinemas, the Electric Cinema, and fascinating areas such as the Custard Factory where local artists have set up individual shops and cafes. This is another facet of the city that makes it an attractive location for business visitors, and because the city centre is easy to get around on foot, the serviced apartments Birmingham has to offer are all within easy walking distance of these attractions.
Staying in a Birmingham serviced apartment also allows guests to enjoy Birminghams many and varied culinary delights. Although its famed for its balti houses and traditional pubs, Birmingham also has a number of high-end restaurants, from French bistros such as Chez Jules to the Indian fusion restaurants that line Broad Street. A number of farmers markets are held across the city each month and the area is dotted with delicatessens and food shops, from independent stores to larger shops such as Selfridges. Living in one of the serviced apartments Birmingham has to offer allows business travellers to buy food in the city centre and cook it in the privacy of what feels like their own home. They also, of course, have the option of eating out in one of the citys many restaurants whenever they choose.