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#48 Please Exit Via The Giftshop

One of the little-known aspects of the building of the Berkeley was the modifications made to the eastern end of the Old Library, which now houses our Department of Early Printed Books, after concerns were raised about the soundness of the structure. The redevelopment of the East Pavilion by Koralek also involved the creation of a new shop and entrance for tourists, and a concrete staircase in the same style as the Berkeley to bring visitors up to the Long Room; the Long Room itself was closed from August 1968 for nearly two years for other minor improvements to be carried out and to allow lighting, heating and a fire-detection system to be installed.

Here we have that gift shop as it was in 1972, from photos of the Berkeley and environs in the Fáilte Ireland Tourism Photographic Collection available on the Dublin City Libraries and Archive Digital Repository. Many thanks to our colleague Antoine Mac Gaoithín for spotting these.

Note, the current gift shop is nearer the entrance – the area seen below is now where the exhibition hosting the Book of Kells is to be found.

Speaking of the gift shop, did you know there is now a full range of Berkeley50 items available from them in person and online? I think my favourite is the tote bag:

If you’ve developed a love for all things Brutalist or concrete, we found the following treasures during our general Internet meandering.

The Barbican in London is world-renowned as a Brutalist icon, and the Barbican shop has some gems, such as this concrete planter:


We also like the concrete letters you can buy:

When we started researching the concept of Béton brut, we happened upon the jewellery website of the same name, selling fantastic items made from slivers of concrete. If someone wants to buy us something from here we wouldn’t say no – how about one of these stunning pendants?

…or if you like dress shirts with double cuffs, how about some cufflinks of your initials in concrete from Etsy?

Finally, if you want to live in an approximation of your own Brutalist classic, then a nice bit of wallpaper could do the job. Here’s the DC Metro Station in wallpaper form:

…but there are plenty of others. None quite as pretty as a version of our own board-marked concrete would look, we think, but your mileage may vary.