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Mecanoo scoops Birmingham Library competition

Dutch-practice Mecanoo has seen off a raft of big names, including Foster + Partners and OMA, to land the contest to design Birmingham’s new £193 million library.

The firm also beat Wilkinson Eyre, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Hopkins Architects and Foreign Office Architects to scoop the prestigious project.

Project architect Carmen Pereira admitted the victory had come as a shock. Talking to the AJ shortly after the announcement, she said: ‘We were surprised that we won.

‘We thought we were the underdog even though we were sure we could deliver what Birmingham wanted. We think we can pursue the ideas that people want for Birmingham’s new library.’

The Dutch outfit will now draw up detailed design for the ‘landmark library' to be built on the empty car park next to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Officially due to open in 2013, the scheme will replace the existing Birmingham Central Library (pictured), which is a stone's throw from the new library site.

The city council is currently trying to persuade architecture minister Margaret Hodge not to list the Brutalist 1973 building by John Madin.

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