How did you feel the first time you entered the Portico Library? One of the oldest buildings in Manchester, some people have told us that it’s like a refuge or a haven, safe from the commotion of the city. Some have said that its columns and grand bookcases can feel severe and intimidating, recalling old-fashioned ideas about who belongs where.
The Library has begun an ambitious development process to share its heritage and collection with all of the city’s residents and visitors. With support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and others, we hope to reunite all floors of the original Grade II* listed building, creating a revitalised, fully accessible venue for reading, writing, learning, and history in the heart of the city.
Exhibited illustrations from the Library’s 200-year-old book collection, and the library itself, bring to mind how the spaces we inhabit often represent the interests of those who built them, yet continue to affect our lives and behaviour today.
Brick by Brick: Architectures of potential gives artists, researchers, and the next generation of architects a place to share their creativity, and invites our visitors to imagine the Library’s future and discuss its potential.
This exhibition will allow our visitors to reflect on what makes an accessible, sustainable, and inclusive space. We invite you to share your thoughts so we can design a community-focused, climate-aware library.