38 Grundfos pumps have been incorporated in the new Library of Birmingham (UK).
38 Grundfos pumps have been incorporated in the new Library of Birmingham (UK).

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Few buildings in the UK, particularly outside of London, have attracted the same level of media attention as the new Library of Birmingham received both nationally, as well as internationally, when it opened in late 2013. It grabbed the headlines, not simply because of the bold statement it made in terms of its impact on the skyline, or indeed because of its sheer size, but also because it is recognised as playing a wider role as part of this proud city’s’ future renaissance.

Today it is situated in the very heart of Birmingham in Centenary Square, and is not only the most significant community project this city has seen for many years but also holds the title for the being largest public library in the UK as well as the biggest regional library in Europe.

Steel and glass

It is true to say that the external filigree hooped external design always meant that this was never going to be a shrinking violet. The glass and steel façade of this £189 million building, designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo, has been variously likened to a wedding cake or a pile of stacked ornate boxes. However, given the city’s historical industrial links and its current role as a major centre for jewellery manufacture, perhaps the design reflects both its past achievements and future ambitions.

The overall impression is possibly deceptive in belying the vast 330,000 sq. ft. interior that is spread over 11 floors. The building incorporates multiple performance spaces, an exhibition gallery, music rooms, rooftop terraces and a large glass central book rotund that contains many of the 1 million books it houses, this includes the Shakespeare Memorial Room that is home to 43,000 books alone.

Little wonder then that this ‘super library’ is part of a new breed of recent international libraries that have changed their image from being ‘book mausoleums’ into being dynamic, accessible and flexible public focal points. We have already seen this with the Spijkenisse Book Mountain in the Netherlands that opened in 2012 and the Konazawa Umimurai that opened in Japan the year before.

Right from the outset low energy was an important target and Birmingham City Council’s brief was for the library to have a BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’, something that it has achieved. Buro Happold worked very closely with the architectural team from the outset to deliver a building that would minimise energy requirements, whilst maximising its passive performance.

Grundfos pumps

Ensuring that this iconic building will live up to everyone’s expectations, involves many different elements. This includes ensuring the consistent and reliable delivery of hot and cold water supplies. Little wonder then that Grundfos Pumps were selected to work with the contractor Cofely GDF Suez to produce a long term robust solution that would meet all the demands.

Utilising a small army of 38 Grundfos pumps the project incorporates several ranges of reliable Grundfos stalwarts such as from the workhorse-like NB range of sturdy end-suction pumps that are suitable for a variety of different applications - including water supply. The NB range covers flows up to 1000m3/h and motors of 200 kW.

The Grundfos CR multistage centrifugal pumps are also well represented in Birmingham. This family were the initiator of the in-line pump configuration and today can be applied to a huge range of commercial/industrial applications. Renowned for their flexibility efficiency and reliability, the family offers 11 flow sizes capable of producing almost 50 bars of pressure.

Both Grundfos NB and CR families were selected in order to efficiently deliver the ongoing demands made by such a large public space.

In terms of the future for the library, the public have been voting with their feet and visitor numbers have way exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. So it seems clear that people in the UK are ready to fully endorse this new adventure in terms of re-launching the modern library and Grundfos Pumps are proud to be playing their role in helping to write the next chapter of this important story.
 

The digital edition of the magazine is distributed free of charge to readers who meet our qualifying criteria. You can apply to receive your free copy by completing this short registration form.