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Sheppard Robson shows off 'pebble' library

Sheppard Robson has unveiled its design for a library with a 'floating' lozenge reminiscent of a bullet or a pebble in a bid to win a Public Finance Initiative (PFI) contract for the building in Brighton.

The practice's scheme, which goes on show at the town's refurbished Pavilion Theatre from today for a week, will do battle with designs from the local RH Partnership in the Jubilee Partners consortium and Brighton-based Lomax Cassidy & Edwards with Bennetts Associates for the Mill Group.

In a consortium led by Rotch Property Group, Sheppard Robson has produced a design with three distinctive elements - a solid rectilinear block, a transparent circulation void and the elevated metallic 'lozenge'.

The main block will be clad in 'beach cobbles', by setting flints into dark pre-cast concrete, developing the beach theme of the pebble shape.

Inside the 'lozenge' Sheppard Robson has planned a wet area play pit, childrens' library and a music section with listening posts. The building also includes a rare collection store, open workspace offices, a mezzanine cyber cafe . . . and books. The project also features an interactive square defined by a screen onto which images of the sea can be projected.

'Atomisers' in front of it splurge water into the air with each wave.

A decision on a winner will be made in September and the council wants the scheme in for planning by December. The library is expected to open in 2002. Costs have not been disclosed because of the nature of the PFI job. A hi-tech, interactive website with an IPIX for viewing Sheppard Robson's proposal is at www. gmj. net/brightonlibrary/

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