Mecanoo chosen for largest European library

Niki May Young
Friday 08 Aug 2008

Netherlands architects scoop up contract for Birmingham Library

The Dutch firm Mecanoo Architecten, led by Francine Houben, has been selected to design the new £193 million Library of Birmingham. The 30,000 sq m library is to be developed on a prime site on Centenary Square and is scheduled to open in 2013, promising to be the largest library in Europe. The project will provide state of the art facilities and include a 300-seat theatre.

Speaking on the firm’s behalf Francine Houben said, “We are excited to have been selected to design a Library integrated with the famous Birmingham Repertory Theatre, which will become the social heart of the city. Mecanoo loves to create unforgettable collective spaces, inside and outside. We hope to create a people’s palace, warm and welcoming.”

Councillor Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council said, “With their creativity, vision, experience and international pedigree I believe Mecanoo are the perfect choice to help us deliver an innovative world-class building which the people of Birmingham can be truly proud of. Their enthusiasm and understanding for the project, coupled with a track record for delivering visually exciting yet practicable and user friendly buildings, really made them stand out.”

Mecanoo was selected from an international shortlist that included Foster + Partners, Foreign Office Architects, Hopkins Architects, OMA, Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Wilkinson Eyre.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

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