Central library was closed in 2013 when its gaudy replacement – the Library of Birmingham – opened. English Heritage have twice recommended that the building be listed but to no avail. Despite the best efforts of the Twentieth Century Society and Friends of the Central Library, the building is due to be demolished.
Architects: Bicknall and Hamilton with R L Moorcraft
This delightful little building looks more like an abstract sculpture than a signal box. The exterior is clad in horizontally ribbed precast concrete panels, which are echoed vertically in the adjoining wall. Ribbon windows continue the horizontal emphasis and break up the facade nicely. A small unclad section near the entrance is covered in glazed white tiles providing an interesting textural mix.
The signal box, along with the Moore Street electricity substation in Sheffield, show the level of creativity and fun that architects working in the brutalist style brought to infrastructure construction back in the 60s. The building was Grade II listed in 1995.