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Beacon of enlightenment: The Lexicon by Carr Cotter Naessens

In a time of shrinking public realm, Carr Cotter Naessens’ new library at Dún Laoghaire is a generous, well-worked example of what civic architecture can be, writes Gary Boyd. Photography by Dennis Gilbert

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Library of Birmingham by Mecanoo

Libraries are where you go to escape and discover other worlds, and Mecanoo has provided an expansive and multi-layered location for this activity, writes Piers Gough

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BDP wins planning for Northampton council HQ

BDP’s designs for Northamptonshire County Council’s new £34 million headquarters have been approved by planners

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Community framework: JW3 by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

With some exquisite finishes, the frame of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ JW3 is elegant as well as tough, writes Felix Mara. Photography by Hufton + Crow

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Concrete kaleidoscope: New Seinäjoki City Library by JKMM

JKMM’s digital-age extension to Alvar Aalto’s 1965 city library at Seinäjoki in Finland startles with its edgy angularity and tricks of perspective, writes Felix Mara

Birmingham Library

Supersize Mecanoo: Birmingham Library by Mecanoo

Birmingham’s new mega-library might be the last of its kind. But that won’t stop it from becoming a great public building, writes Jay Merrick. Photography by Christian Richters

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