New Birmingham Central Library will be combined with remodelled Birmingham Repertory theatre

Birmingham City Council has begun the search for an architect to design a £193m library for the city.

An OJEU notice yesterday called for tenders to design a new-build Birmingham Central Library to combine with the existing Birmingham Repertory theatre.

The frontage of the theatre will be remodelled with the new library to make an effectively integrated building, in which there will be a foyer, bars, cafes and a new 350-seat auditorium.

Cllr Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “It’s our belief that a landmark building deserves an inspirational design. By working with the very best international architects we will develop a building which will not only be highly accessible, sustainable and functional for visitors, but will also become known as a global landmark synonymous with cultural excellence and the city of Birmingham.”

Architects have been given until 3 March to apply, after which the council will select a shortlist of practices. An appointment is expected before August, with construction set to begin in 2010.