The Richard Rogers Partnership has beaten off competition from a star-studded shortlist to scoop the job to design a £100 million library for Birmingham. It saw off 60 international entries including the other shortlisted firms - Edward Cullinan and Partners, Future Systems, Michael Hopkins and Partners, Moshe Safdie, Snøhetta + Spence, and Wilkinson Eyre - to land the project, which will form part of the city's bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2008.
The scheme will be built in the Eastlands area of the city, alongside the Nicholas Grimshawdesigned Millennium Point, and will form part of a major regeneration scheme.Birmingham's existing 1970s library on Chamberlain Square will be demolished 'in time', said a council spokesman.
Lord Rogers said: 'This is a great opportunity to create an innovative new building for the city, which we believe will be a key part of Birmingham's ongoing urban renaissance.'
'We're thrilled, ' added RRP's Robert Torday.
'They were looking for an approach they could identify with and they obviously liked us.We were talking generic ideas about what this icon for Birmingham could be.'
The result will be a 21st-century library which is an 'inspiring, friendly and welcoming place for learning and creativity', according to Birmingham councillor Ian Ward.
The competition organisers expressly did not want to see any design work, although RRP submitted written material and cited the Pompidou Centre as a relevant past RRP scheme since the Parisian landmark includes an extensive library.
RRP, which is promised a fee of £120,000 for a six-month contract for its concept design work, aims to start work on the scheme in June.