Brutalism is an architectural style that resulted from post-war space-age and post-modernist design influences seen in buildings from the 1950s up to 1970s and rarely later. It is notable for its iconic bare concrete finish and angular block-like shapes.
Southend’s second central library was built in 1974 to replace the 1905 library which is now the Southend Central Museum. It is a great example of the unusual ugly-yet-edgy brutalist architectural movement that with a little imagination mirrors the inside of a space ship or an alien UFO landing in Victoria Road. the carpark adjacent to it too is built in brutalist style.
The library closed in early 2014 replaced by the Focal Point Gallery & Library, and you can see the latest building’s design was influenced by post-war post-modernist architecture like that seen on the 1970s library. It features many floors with large tinted window spaces and is quite ambitious even by modern standards. The library did have a ‘reader’s digest’ cafe when it was open. It’s insides are finished with strange brick tiles and some of these are placed on the current library’s front desk as a nod to the older building. The 1970s library building is now used as the home of the Beecroft Gallery and ‘the Hive’ office space on the top floor.