Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham library: 'No sour grapes' at Stirling Prize

Library of Birmingham Image copyright AFP
Image caption The library won a BBC poll to find the public's favourite building on the Stirling Prize shortlist

The Library of Birmingham says there are "no sour grapes" after it failed to win the Riba Stirling Prize for best new building of the year.

The building was on the shortlist for the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects award, but lost out to Liverpool's Everyman Theatre.

But the library did win a BBC poll, in which 90,000 people voted, to find the public's favourite on the shortlist.

A library spokesman said winning the public's backing was "very gratifying".

David Potts, head of learning resources at the library, said: "It's a public building and being voted as the favourite by the public is very gratifying.

"I'm really, really pleased people voted for us, I think we got 27,000 votes."

He added that he was pleased a cultural venue had won and "just being shortlisted at all was incredible".

Image copyright Philip Vile
Image caption The Everyman Theatre in Liverpool is a "good winner as a cultural venue", said David Potts

Dinah McLannahan posted on the Birmingham Updates Facebook page: "Not the first time Liverpool have beaten us, remember City of Culture? We totally should have won both!"

Geoff Waits wrote: "The public voted for it but the panel didn't. I wonder who's got the best opinion?"

Birmingham Updates founder Luke Addis echoed architect Francine Houben's description of the library as a "people's palace", adding: "It's open to everyone and more or less everyone who enters it is blown away by its extraordinary design."

Councillor Ian Ward, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, sent his congratulations to the architects behind the Everyman Theatre and also congratulated the Library of Birmingham's architects for creating a "stunning" building.

Designed by Dutch firm Mecanoo, the library, which cost nearly £190m to build, opened to the public last year.

Image copyright Mecanoo Architects
Image caption An architect's cross-section shows the complexity of the Library of Birmingham

The shortlisted buildings for 2014 were:

  • The Everyman Theatre in Liverpool
  • The Library of Birmingham
  • The London Aquatics Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
  • Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at the London School of Economics
  • The Manchester School of Art
  • The Shard, London

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