Project Description

The high-tech, Library of Birmingham building, which on completion was the largest public bulding in Europe, was designed by the Delft-based architects, Mecanoo. The library, which is situated on Centenary Square, is spread over 10 levels and comprises four box shaped structures that are staggered to create various canopies and terraces. Strikingly, the exterior is clad with a filigree pattern of concentric metal rings over glass, silver and gold facades.

The library, which has a BREEAM Excellent rating, covers an area of 32,000m2, houses over one million books in both an adult and children’s library, has more than 200 public access computers, a music room, theatres, cafe and an exhibition gallery. Its most valuable books are copies of Shakespeare‘s First Folio and John James Audubon‘s Birds of America – worth between £6m and £7m each.


Project Requirements

A cost effective and guaranteed watertight solution was required for the concrete basement shell and terraces.


Sika Solution

The Sika Watertight Concrete system was specified for both the basement and terraces. The system complies with BS 8103:2009 Grade 3 for habitable areas where no water penetration is acceptable, an essential consideration for the basement area. On the terraces, Sika Watertight Concrete was chosen as a secondary defence should the waterproof decking above become damaged and allow water to penetrate. Bardon Concrete supplied 1,000m3 of Sika Watertight Concrete to the project. The guaranteed Sika Watertight Concrete System offers a comprehensive solution in the waterproofing of concrete structures. State-of-the-art Sika admixtures are added to the concrete to prevent water penetration. The system is completed with carefully selected waterstops for construction and movement joints to produce a waterproof structure.


Project Participants

Owner: Library of Birmingham
Architects: Mecanoo
Main Contractor: Carillion plc
Concrete Supplier: Bardon Concrete

Download Case Study PDF