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CENTRAL LIBRARY

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The Bristol Central Library was designed by Charles Holden in an architectural competition held to address the building. It was designed in 1902 and completed in 1906.

It is constructed of brick on a steel frame, with Bath stone facings. The plan of the building is simple: an entrance and main staircase at the east end, with three floors of public space to the north, offices and storage to the south across five floors and a light well with glass-block floor panels.

To the exterior, the north front had to respect the adjoining Norman Abbey Gatehouse. The parapet is slightly lower than on the gatehouse and the round-arched entrance is under a Neo-Tudor oriel window. The south and east facades follow an Arts and Crafts approach, where both the front and back of the building are of equal importance. There are bold chimneystacks and framing towers to establish dominant verticals, and the north front also has central arched and buttressed bays. The effect is said to be reminiscent of Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art, of 1906-1909.

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