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U-turn for Birmingham Library as council seeks international architect

The long-running Birmingham Library saga has taken yet another twist, with news that Birmingham City Council (BCC) is now to press ahead with an international design competition for the £193 million facility.

Following today’s appointment of Capita Symonds as project manager, the council has confirmed that it will require an ‘architect of international renown’ to develop the scheme.

Brian Gambles, assistant director of culture at BCC, said: ‘It will be an international competition. It will go out [as an OJEU notice] next week and we will cast our net further afield to generate an international competition.

‘We have gone off the terms ‘iconic’ and ‘signature’, but this scheme really will be a genuine landmark building and we want an architect of international renown.’

Gambles, who added that the winning architect ‘could, of course, come from the UK,’ said the council is looking into ways to generate an international competition and an appointment is expected by the summer.

In November, BCC appeared to have backtracked on plans for a worldwide competition when city regeneration director Clive Dutton stated that BCC ‘…are not recommending a full international design competition.’

The controversial scheme will involve the demolition of John Madin's Birmingham Central Library.

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