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International Birmingham library competition to be launched

Birmingham City Council (BCC) has announced that it will launch an international design competition for its controversial £200 million Library of Birmingham scheme

Birmingham City Council (BCC) has announced that it will launch an international design competition for its controversial £200 million Library of Birmingham scheme.

The project will see the demolition of the city’s existing Modernist Central Library – designed by architect John Madin – which BCC labelled as being ‘no longer fit-for-purpose’ (New £200 million public facility could mean curtains for Birmingham Central Library).

BCC is waiting to see if Culture Secretary James Purnell will issue an Immunity from Listing Notice, which would pave the way for the 33-year-old library’s demolition.

If given the green light, BCC said the Library of Birmingham scheme will link up with the city’s renowned Birmingham Repertory Theatre (The Rep) and share facilities with it, to create a ‘centre for knowledge, learning and culture’.

BCC leader Mike Whitby said the proposal – which HOK has drawn up the masterplan for (pictured) – would link with The Rep and ‘create a new centre for learning and culture and complete the development of Centenary Square, at the heart of the city centre’.

A decision on the fate of Madin’s library is expected next week. If given the go ahead, design work is scheduled to get under way by summer 2008, with completion planned for 2013.

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