Oral history at the British Library. He said: ‘As you move towards the circular opening of the porthole, it fits exactly with the cone of your vision. With natural daylight being the main light source in the Entrance Hall, there is a natural transition as you step inside from the Piazza. They illustrate a wide range of architectural styles, and together represent the very best in public architecture.”, Source: http://historicengland.org.uk/news-and-features/news/british-library-listed-grade-1, Location: Euston Road, north of the city centre, – Scandinavian Modernism style, internal brick eg like Aalto – very spacious atrium – largest public building constructed in the United Kingdom in the 20th century – no other architecture project, since the building of St. Paul’s Cathedral, over 400 years ago, took so long to construct or was surrounded by so much controversy. La BL est une institution récente par rapport aux autres bibliothèques nationales : elle a été fondée en 1973 par le British Library Act (1973). These twin influences can be seen across the British Library in: Originating in the 20th century and taking influence from Scandinavian architecture, this style responds to the natural world and the surroundings a building is placed in. Look out for some of the techniques used in the Entrance Hall to make the building welcoming for visitors. Intended to move and inspire its visitors, today the British Library’s London site is much-loved and well-used by scholars and members of the public alike for its soaring and stimulating spaces. Listen to what MJ Long had to say about lighting in the Entrance Hall. But as we’ve gradually grown into more than just a library, we’ve chopped down the barriers and opened the doors to all. This will enable it to go on flourishing as a dynamic public building, in which appropriate change is welcomed. While our building is home to millions of books, in our stonework resides oysters, plants and snails – all millions of years old. Although its modernist design by architect Colin St. John Wilson originally divided … Only once you reach the centre of the Entrance Hall can you get a full perspective of the height of the Library. ‘When the sun comes out in the Entrance Hall’, he said, ‘the building sort of opens up like a flower, and when the sun goes out, it closes again’. With its layered design, reminiscent of Eastern temple architecture, our roof has been compared to that of the Forbidden City palace complex in Beijing. Wilson was a British modernist architect, strongly influenced by Scandinavian design. The British Library is arguably the most significant new public building of the later 20th century in England. This gallery was the first wing of the new Museum's quadrangular building to be built, with construction beginning in 1823. Discover how the Reading Rooms were designed to reflect the people who use them. See for example the use of natural materials in the Entrance Hall, and the building’s red bricks on the inside and out, which blend in seamlessly with the neighbouring St. Pancras Station and the Renaissance Hotel. While our building is home to millions of books, in our stonework resides oysters, plants and snails – all millions of years old. His heroes were Finnish architect Alvar Aalto and Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund, and if you look at some of their buildings, you may notice similarities with the British Library. Learn more about the history of the British Library. Wilson referred to the saga as his 'Thirty Years War'. Find out how the King’s Library presented the ultimate opportunity to architects to show off the treasures of the British Library. It is set back in a stately fashion behind the distinctive brick piazza and portico and holds its own amongst a parade of Grade I buildings: St … – 37 years from the award of the brief to the opening of the last Reading Room, Sir Colin faced changes to the location, size, proportions, and funding for the building. Daylight pours in from the skylights and the windows set into the ceiling, and reflects off the floor. Please consider the environment before printing, All text is © British Library and is available under Creative Commons Attribution Licence except where otherwise stated, The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr: sketches and original artwork, Sean's Red Bike by Petronella Breinburg, illustrated by Errol Lloyd, Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights, The fight for women’s rights is unfinished business, Get 3 for 2 on all British Library Fiction, Why you need to protect your intellectual property, Oral histories of architecture and landscape design, Stone, bricks and fossils of the British Library, Galleries, Reading Rooms, Shop and Catering Opening Times Vary, the building’s irregular shape (look at it from the Piazza), which echoes George Gilbert Scott’s St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel next door, the clocktower (paying homage to WM Dudok's town hall in Hilversum, Netherlands), which is not merely decorative but also a ventilation shaft, serving to air the five levels of basement. The long hanging lights behind the Helpdesk – designed by architect Juha Leiviskä and first used in Myyrmäki Church in Finland – bring light directly down to the people, functioning in a similar way to lanterns in a Turkish mosque. You can spot this gradual-rising effect if you look at the roof of the building from outside. Only those lucky enough to have a Reader’s Pass could enter past this point. On the approach to the escalators, can you spot two empty plinths? Explore the architecture of this Grade 1 listed building. In the original design, the majority of the building was accessible only to researchers. You can also see this transition at work in the continuation of the outside brickwork and pavement in the Entrance Hall, and the use of natural materials around the building: travertine, oak, leather, brass and ebony. Between them, on the floor, are six circles, hinting that something has been removed. Look at the handrails inside the lifts, on doors and around the Library. Architectural style of the British Library. “Historic England has had a really constructive consultation with the BL throughout. The size of the Entrance Hall is also broken down by intermediate points like hanging lights, low balustrades and pillars. An old rail goods yard in St Pancras would become our home. These mark where the original turnstiles into the ‘inner sanctum’ of the Library stood. Find out how the King’s Library presented the ultimate opportunity to architects to show off the treasures of the British Library. To help you stay oriented, portholes throughout the building give you vantage points of your surroundings, allowing you to see where you’ve just come from and where you’re going next. Roger Bowdler, Director of Listing at Historic England, said: “The British Library (BL) is one of England’s finest modern public buildings. At the same time, Wilson subscribed to the modernist philosophy that the form of a building should reflect its function and the people who use it. Discover how the Reading Rooms were designed to reflect the people who use them. Wilson relied heavily on natural light, which he believed, not only keeps Readers awake but keeps them in touch with nature: the time of the day, the weather, the seasons. With a site near the British Museum first approved in 1964, and the existing St Pancras design given the go-ahead in the mid-70s, architects Wilson and Long had to battle against spiralling costs, government changes and funding cuts for over three decades until the building was complete. Additionally, seven later 20th century libraries have been listed at Grade II. The King's Library (now the Enlightenment Gallery) was built to house King George III's collection which included more than 65,000 books and had been donated to the nation by his son, George IV in 1823. As a result, you hopefully won’t feel too tiny in comparison with the building! One of the most striking things about the Entrance Hall is the way it is lit. Can you tell how? Two particular architectural styles influenced the design of the Library: While earlier generations of architects had been preoccupied by strict classical symmetries, Wilson was inspired by a group of 19th-century thinkers who saw beauty in irregularity and asymmetry. Home > London architecture > British Library Building, London Architecture, British Library Building London, Euston Road Architecture Photos, Design, Project, Date, Picture, BL Euston Road Architecture, London, England, UK – design by Colin St John Wilson, architect, 20 Apr 2016 – new photos loaded ; updated 19 Sep 2015 ; 3 Aug 2015, Address: 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB, UK. Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said: “The British Library divided opinion from the moment its design was revealed, but I am glad that expert advice now allows me to list it, ensuring that its iconic design is protected for future generations to enjoy.”. The room was on a grand scale: it's 91m (300ft) long, 12m (41ft) high and 9m (30ft) … His heroes were Finnish architect Alvar Aalto and Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund, and if you look at some of their buildings, you may notice similarities with the British Library. King’s Library architecture … Surrounded on both sides by 11 Reading Rooms, the Library’s centrepiece is the magnificent King’s Library tower… There have also been many attempts to 'play down' the significance and … It is set back in a stately fashion behind the distinctive brick piazza and portico and holds its own amongst a parade of Grade I buildings: St Pancras Hotel and Station and King’s Cross Station.