Death of a Building, Part Seven

by Gethin Thomas August. 11, 2020 267 views

Part Seven comprises of shots taken in May 2016, some of the most dramatic in the series. The soft demolition of Birmingham Library continues. A lot happens in May as demolition starts to accelerate due to the increase in space now available, both to manoeuvre the demolition vehicles but also to process the waste. The work site is now vast. At the beginning of May half the main ziggurat is gone, the whole East Wing and half of each of the North and South Wings. By the end of May the West wing is breached creating a spectacular view of "Big Brum" The Art Gallery clock tower which has not been visible from this angle for 45 years.

Please see parts one and two for some background and photos of the building exterior and interior before demolition began.

Demolition started at the end of 2015, I started my project in January 2016 after the first chunk had been removed from the main structure.

I had three main vantage points early in the process. From the portico of the Art Gallery next door. This area was raised up so gave a view over the site above the screens around the site. From a terrace next to the Town Hall, and from the balcony of the Conservatoire, which was also later demolished, but in the early stages continued to be accessible.

As demolition moved to the Conservatoire later a fourth main vantage point opened up on a walkway to the rear which remained open throughout.

The concrete stump in front of the art gallery is now gone and it is possible to see more clearly the aerial walkway that links the far end of the building. This will have to be carefully removed later to avoid damage to the Edwardian building.

Large areas of the now available space are being used to sort and process the waste.

Conservatoire still open for business.

How this tree ended up still standing here I have no idea.

Now the West wing is breached, opening up new spectacular views.

The new library viewed through the rubble of the old.

The now free standing North West corner of the main structure.

Part Eight is here.

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Paul Moreau 8 months, 1 week ago

Dramatic indeed, captures social change but could also be taken in any number of places around the world in a sadder, more sinister context. When you've finished telling the story I'd love to know what your top ten shots are from this project.

8 months, 1 week ago Edited
Gethin Thomas Replied to Paul Moreau 8 months, 1 week ago

That's going to be difficult. I must have taken photos in the thousands for this project, not even the hundreds. It was difficult narrowing it down to about twelve sets, but I'll have a go. The last set will be a sort of memorial service I think.

8 months, 1 week ago Edited
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