Manchester Central Library in the UK has been re-opened after being closed for three and a half years for a £50m refurbishment.
BDP, Laing O’Rourke and Ryder Architecture worked on the project, which secured BREEAM Excellent rating.
New facilities of the renovated library include new accessible spaces, a new media lounge, an archive and local history centre, a business centre and a new special library for children.
It will also house a new lending library on the lower ground floor providing an extra 2,000m² of space.
The library looks out over the frontage of St Peter’s Square, soon to be a major transport interchange and re-designed public space.
Built in 1934 by E. Vincent Harris, the building has restored heritage features that include the domed reading room and a media lounge.
BDP said the main interventions are the introduction of a vertical circulation core for the first time, and the ability to display 70% of the library’s books compared to the previous 30%.
The library will serve a city of 2.7 million people as well as national and international visitors.
Manchester City Council executive member for culture and leisure Rosa Battle said this year marks the 80th anniversary of the building’s original opening.
"The work which has been carried out since 2010 will ensure Central Library remains a fantastic asset for the city for many decades to come," Battle said.
"This transformed library is truly inspiring. It combines respect for heritage with a commitment to inspiring modern services and balances impressive and imposing areas with cosy and welcoming spaces."
The redevelopment is part of the town hall complex transformation programme, which includes the refurbishment of the town hall extension building that separates the library from the main, victorian town hall.
A glass link building will link the library to the extension and improvements are planned to be made to the public spaces around the complex.
Image: The renovated library includes new accessible spaces and a media lounge. Photo: courtesy of BDP.