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Centenary Square redesign winner revealed

Concept by Edinburgh practice Graeme Massie Architects picked from five finalists to create new public realm in front of the Library of Birmingham

An Edinburgh architect has won the competition to redesign Birmingham's Centenary Square with an 'iconic' scheme which includes trees, a water feature and tall lighting columns.

Graeme Massie Architects was chosen from the shortlisted five entries (see gallery above for the finalists) for a design which judges say has a "timeless simplicity" and would be flexible enough to allow the square to be used for a wide range of public events.

The design competition, run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Landscape Institute on behalf of the city council, attracted more than 200 entries from around the world.

The Graeme Massie design is described as multi-dimensional with a ceiling of lights which judges say will be stunning when viewed from the Library of Birmingham's terrace garden.

It also includes rows of trees, a water fountain feature, which can be turned off to create an open public space for exhibitions, and plenty of places to sit.

Judges also believe the design fits in well with the existing buildings and planned nearby developments at Paradise and Arena Central.

Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore said: "This competition has attracted entries from national and international designers, with the quality of entries making the judges' job extremely difficult but I am delighted we are now at the point where we can reveal the winner.

"We believe the winning scheme offers something different for Birmingham and will reshape Centenary Square into an important public space where people can stop, relax and socialise, rather than simply passing through, as well as coming together to enjoy a diverse calendar of events."

Sasha Bhavan, RIBA adviser for the competition, said: "The scheme was chosen for its bold, brave and unique approach, backed by rigorous thought and a practical, pragmatic approach.

"Graeme Massie Architects stood out and apart for demonstrating an ability to inventively and successfully respond to the brief and client feedback and for describing an iconic yet realisable proposal in the spirit of Birmingham's tradition of ground-breaking architectural commissions."

Graeme Massie has a string of top honours including the 2010 Scottish Design Awards architect of the year and Royal Scottish Academy Gold Medal for Architecture in both 2005 and 2007.

He is also a part-time tutor at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow and was previously involved in the revamp of the Hippodrome theatre in 2002.

Mr Massie said: "We are delighted to have won the competition. The project presents a fantastic opportunity to build on the success of the city in developing high-quality public buildings and spaces, such as the Library of Birmingham and Eastside City Park.

"Through working closely with Birmingham City Council, key stakeholders and the wider community, we hope to deliver a public space which everyone in the city can be proud of."

Pat Hanlon, board director for Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), said: "It is exciting to see the winning design of such a popular competition which drew international interest, underlining Birmingham's position as a city of importance on the world stage.

"This transformational project forms an important part of the GBSLEP's £275 million enterprise zone investment plan, which will be funded by the retained business rates in the EZ and Birmingham City Council borrowing against the future uplift.

"This plan has been designed to support development, such as Paradise and the Midland Metro extension to Centenary Square, and public realm improvements in order to drive economic growth.

"We believe Graeme Massie Architects' winning design will provide an inspirational and aspirational place to attract inward investment and tourism in line with the LEP's plans."

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