First stage of Birmingham public realm project complete by Broadway Malyan

The first potential interventions in a major project to transform the city environment around Birmingham’s business district have been identified following the completion of a public realm masterplan.

The aim of the multi-stage project being designed by Broadway Malyan is to deliver more comfort for pedestrians and cyclists with a public realm that is able to host a variety of activities, add value for tenants and attract further investment.

Broadway Malyan has now completed a public realm framework across the whole Snow Hill area, which stretches from Steelhouse Lane to Victoria Square, and identified six project areas that will now go forward for detailed design development.

The six areas that have been identified are Colmore Row, the junction of Colmore Row and Newhall Street, Cornwall Street, the south end of Church Street towards Colmore Row, Barwick Street and Steelhouse Square outside Colmore Plaza at the top of Steelhouse Lane.

Broadway Malyan director Danny Crump, who is leading the professional delivery team that also includes SYSTRA, WYG and Hoare Lea, said the completion of the public realm masterplan laid down an important framework that established street typologies that could be implemented across the study area.

He said: “Each of these areas have their own character and characteristics with different needs and opportunities to improve the public realm and having completed the strategic plan we are now able to develop each area further and refine concepts while adhering to a consistent set of design principles.

“We are looking at initiatives that will completely reimagine the Snow Hill area by “detuning” the highway character, moving away from vehicle dominance and putting pedestrians and cyclists first and at its heart.

“Ultimately this will include the introduction of some new public spaces and pedestrian priority areas, new green infrastructure, pocket parks, new street furniture and general decluttering as well as encouraging businesses to spill out and occupy a more vibrant streetscene, helping to add value to the Snow Hill Area while creating a more interesting and energetic street environment.”

 
 

Mike Mounfield, projects manager at Colmore BID, added: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to radically improve the experience of people who work, live and visit the Colmore area.  We are currently building a coalition of property owners interested in supplementing the programme funding to make sure all these transformational projects go ahead.”

Councillor John Clancy, leader of Birmingham city council, said: “I’ll be watching with interest the regeneration of the area around Snow Hill and Colmore Row.

Not only is this the beating heart of Birmingham’s business district, it is also an important gateway into the city centre where improvements to the public realm are long overdue. The changes planned will help to revitalise Snow Hill making it easier to attract inward investment, creating jobs and inclusive economic growth.”

The detail design stage of the project is likely to take up to ten months with work potentially starting on the first project in late 2017.

An early delivery phase of the £10m project, which is being funded by Birmingham LEP’s Growth Fund subject to a full business case following an application by Birmingham City Council and Colmore BID, will see significant improvements to the square outside Snow Hill Station including traffic calming, new street furniture and tree planting alongside the development of a new underground restaurant.

 

Garden villages – a key part of the jigsaw by Broadway Malyan

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By Jeff Nottage

There is no quick fix to the UK’s housing crisis.

The last decade has seen myriad initiatives come – and often go – without any real dent being made in the housing shortfall.

Development on the scale necessary to achieve the predicted 200,000 new homes needed every year to fulfil the UK’s housing needs can only be achieved through bold and decisive policy making and strong political support. The move towards a localism agenda in recent years has often acted to stifle rather than energise the drive for more housing development where it is most needed.

Over the last 10 years, co-ordinated regional spatial planning has been replaced with a “bottom-up” approach where local planning authorities work, nearly always, within their own boundaries to achieve (or often not) their housing targets. As a result, large-scale, co-ordinated and coherent strategic development proposals, such as new settlements, have stalled.

Ensuring housing is developed where it is most needed and supported by the necessary infrastructure rather than where it is most convenient is absolutely critical if it is to support the UK’s long term economic well-being.   

Developing a range of housing sites – be they brownfield, greenfield or within the Green Belt – will all have an important part to play in tackling the housing crisis and that is why the Government’s recent announcement on Garden Villages has to be welcomed as an important piece in the housebuilding jigsaw.

Broadway Malyan has been involved in masterplanning two of the 14 Garden Village sites identified this week by the Government – Dunton Hills in Essex and Longcross in Surrey – and both settlements have the potential to have a substantial and positive impact in terms of delivering quality, liveable and highly sustainable new communities. Broadway Malyan has also been involved in masterplanning a significant part of the new Hertfordshire-Essex Garden Town.

The majority of the sites identified, which range from Cumbria to Cornwall, are currently on greenfield or Green Belt land so there will be no lack of dissenting voices as the settlements move through the planning process, but Government support for the sites should not be underestimated.

All local authorities were tasked with identifying sites that had the potential to become Garden Villages so there has already been a significant process to determine general suitability and commercial viability to arrive at this stage. With a supportive Secretary of State onside, there is much to be optimistic about in terms of delivering these new settlements within a realistic timeframe.

The failure of New Labour’s Eco-Towns initiative and the lack of traction in progressing new Garden Cities such as Ebbsfleet should not detract from the potential of Garden Villages, which offer development on a much more manageable scale with tangible results potentially within years rather than decades.

This initiative should not, however, be about trying to recreate the original Garden Cities such as Letchworth or Welwyn on a smaller scale, or twee rural villages in the middle of the countryside.  Instead, it should be about developing new communities with easy access to employment in a well-planned and contemporary environment that addresses the needs and aspirations of the UK in the 21st Century.

While Garden Villages will still only deliver a fraction of the UK’s overall needs, there is more chance than ever that these may actually happen.

 

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Starling Vortex

A photograph that captured the moment thousands of birds descended on a UK seaside town has scooped a coveted national award for a Broadway Malyan architect.

Matthew Cattell, an Associate at the practice’s Reading studio, took the top prize in the Landscape Photographer of the Year awards for his ‘Starling Vortex’ image.

Matthew Cattell

Matthew Cattell

The photograph, which forms the centrepiece of an exhibition of winning images at Waterloo Station until February 2017, captures the murmuration of hundreds of thousands of starlings which roost on Brighton pier every year.

Matthew, who started taking photographs after inheriting his grandfather’s metal pentax camera, said he took the award winning photograph after taking his parents to the pier to witness the phenomenon.

 

He said: “During the winter months hundreds of thousands of starlings assemble at Brighton Pier to roost for the night and the birds gather in large flocks and perform beautiful aerial displays before dropping down to the relative safety of the structure below.

“Standing on the pier allows the viewer to witness these murmurations from within as the birds flow and cascade around you and the windy conditions had whipped up the foam on the surface of the sea and I liked the way the motion of the incoming tide mimicked the movement of the birds.

“Rather than ‘freeze’ the action I used a longer exposure to exaggerate this vortex of motion and I retained the ruins of the West Pier to help locate the image. Whilst the light wasn’t ‘golden’ it had a silvery purple quality that muted the colours of the scene.

“The wind was also really strong and it had imparted an energy into the sea - turning it into a strong mix of sand and white foam and the moving components worked so well against the static ruins of the pier.”

 The winning photograph, which beat thousands of submissions to win the overall title, was described as “an intriguing image” by the founder of the awards Charlie Waite.

“The sense of movement is palpable in Matthew's photograph and you really feel what it would have been like to stand beside him," Mr Waite said.

"The starlings seem to be swirling around the iconic remains of Brighton's West Pier in a manner reminiscent of the tornado in the Wizard of Oz."

 An exhibition of the winning photographs will run at London’s Waterloo Station until February 5th 2017. To see more examples of Matthew’s work, go to www.matthewcattellphotography.com

 

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Award-winning shopping centre opens in Bucharest by Broadway Malyan

A major new shopping centre designed by Broadway Malyan and inspired by its parkland location has opened its doors to the public in the Romanian capital Bucharest.

ParkLake is themed around ‘Park – Nature – Family’ and is one of the country’s largest shopping centres, providing 70,840sqm GLA which includes more than 200 shops – 97 per cent of which were let for its launch.

The €180 million project by Portuguese property company Sonae Sierra and Irish investment group Caelum Development also includes a 14 screen multiplex cinema and a major food court.

The project, which won the Concept and Design Project of the Year category at the SEE Real Estate Awards in 2015, is Broadway Malyan’s largest completed retail project in central Europe and chairman Stuart Rough said the scheme created a new destination shopping experience for the city.

He said: “Increasingly the retail sector is looking beyond creating places where people just shop – they are looking to create a real experience for the customer through high quality interior design and by providing a wide range of innovative amenities.

“The shopping centre must be somewhere for visitors to meet friends, relax and be entertained and we have focused on those additional elements that will increase customer dwell time while also creating an overall ambiance with the integration of nature into the development.”

 

The shopping centre has an international food court terrace offering stunning views across the park as well as a green space for leisure and sports activities, seasonal markets and live performances. Internally the design has incorporated tree houses, grottos and a frozen lake to mimic its woodland setting.

Externally the shopping centre entrance boasts a copper skeletal portico inspired by the autumnal colours of the park while the park-side entrance features large, fully glazed boxes that break down the boundary between inside and outside and reference the great glass houses and winter gardens of the 19th Century. 

 

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Consultation launched on ‘pedestrian-first’ future for Birmingham’s business district by Broadway Malyan

A public consultation has been launched on the first phase of a transformational £10m public realm improvement scheme in the heart of the Birmingham.

Snow Hill Square will be completely redesigned in a £3.3m scheme to provide an attractive and welcoming gateway to the city centre from Snow Hill rail station. Putting pedestrians first, the square will establish a new benchmark for public space in the city, adding value and attracting investment.

The redesigned square is at the heart of a number of changes to the Snow Hill area that will consider street usage and provide more space and comfort for pedestrians as well as prioritising pedestrians wherever possible and introducing more ‘staying/stopping’ space.

Broadway Malyan has been commissioned by Colmore Business Improvement District (BID) and Birmingham City Council to draw up the proposals – the practice’s largest urban public realm scheme in the UK.

Broadway Malyan Director Danny Crump said: “Public open spaces are highly valuable to the liveability of city centre – that enigmatic quality that creates a sense of place and makes it feel good to be somewhere.

“Snow Hill Square is a real opportunity to properly utilise a valuable public space in really vibrant part of Birmingham while also providing an appropriate welcome for this key gateway into Birmingham.

“We have enjoyed working with key stakeholders and the local business community to evolve the concept proposals and it’s exciting to see the scheme move closer towards delivery.”

 
 

The new square will create a decluttered environment with areas of calm providing opportunities for workers and visitors to enjoy the space throughout the day.

A proposed glass pavilion entrance to a new underground restaurant at One Colmore Row features prominently in the new square, alongside a large timber ‘City Bench’, designed to be a robust and beautifully detailed feature within the square.

Special attention is being paid to street and floor lighting throughout to enable better daytime and evening use of the square.

High quality natural stone has been selected to provide an enduring and unifying surface finish.

Wayfinding elements play on local Anglo Saxon history and topography with ground-level granite etched units featuring abstracted geometric details from Birmingham maps.

Rob Valentine, Colmore BID Vice Chairman, added: “Snow Hill Square makes a suitable extension of the earlier work of Colmore BID in Church Street Square and Colmore Square.

“Though a technically and legally demanding project, involving a live railway tunnel and multiple ownership interests, this space is a true gateway into the Colmore Business District and needs to be a high quality environment.

“I’m very pleased with the design, and can’t wait to see this example of business-led place-making become a reality.”

Birmingham City Council Leader, Cllr John Clancy, described the plans as ‘exciting’.

"Snow Hill Station is an important gateway into Birmingham and these designs are a clear signal of our intent to develop a hugely important part of the city,” he said.

"Colmore BID and Birmingham City Council share a vision for Snow Hill Square and this exciting project is yet more proof that big things are happening in this city."

Find out more about the consultation process at https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/economy/snow-hill-public-consultation

 

Broadway Malyan commissioned to create new heart for Southport by Broadway Malyan

Broadway Malyan has created new blueprint for the centre of Southport aimed at “stitching back together” the heart of North-west seaside town.

The proposals, which would see a significant reduction in traffic and a renewed focus on pedestrians along one of Southport’s most historic streets, are part of a wider Southport Development Strategy recently presented to Sefton Council’s cabinet.

The Broadway Malyan scheme to revitalise Lord Street – the road said to have inspired Paris’s Champs Elysees – will focus on traffic calming as an important first step in reclaiming the street according to Broadway Malyan director Danny Crump, who is leading the design project.

He said: “A crucial element of our proposals to restore the vitality to this fantastic street is to address the imbalance between cars and people so reducing the impact of traffic in this key town centre space is a vital part of the scheme.

“This project is about making Lord Street the natural heart of Southport and giving it a real focus. We want to retain the historic avenue aesthetic and make Lord Street the boulevard it once was when it inspired the Parisians all those years ago.”

The concept scheme, which has been funded by a grant from the Government’s Coastal Revival Fund, would also see the introduction of a major new flexible events space, a redeveloped outdoor market area, play facilities for families and extensive hard and soft landscape proposals.

“The principle behind this project is physical regeneration enabling economic regeneration,” said Danny. “Southport has to compete with Liverpool and Manchester on its doorstep as well as an ageing population so it is important that takes steps now to improve its viability and reverse decline.

“This scheme will help create a much more contemporary and dynamic heart of the town, complementing its unique collection of Grade II listed architecture and reinstating the some of the street’s majesty that has been lost over the years.

“The regeneration of Lord Street is about refocusing it on the people alongside providing a range of uses that will attract people there. We are considering the space as a destination as well as a key circulation component, stitching back together Southport’s other attractions such as the Promenade and King’s Garden’s which are all vital assets providing a long term sustainable future for Southport.”    

 

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Education event explores the future of school and university design in China by Broadway Malyan

Broadway Malyan’s Shanghai team shared its expertise at an event focused on 21st century learning environments yesterday.

Opened by the British Consul General, and organised in partnership with UKTI, the event had over 60 delegates in attendance.

It focused on the main trends in the education sector and how they related to the design of schools and universities in China.

Broadway Malayan global chairman Stuart Rough spoke at the event, talking about the practice’s history and expertise in the education sector before introducing the themes that would be discussed throughout the day.

He said that the sector is one of the most rewarding to design for, due to the challenge of “creating distinct facilities for different providers, designing spaces which reflect a range of different cultures, and buildings which enhance and improve the local community.”

He added that the importance of these buildings cannot be overstated due to the role they play in shaping and inspiring learning.

The day’s programme was divided into four talks, with APAC regional board director and education sector lead Harry Hoodless starting with a case study on Dulwich School in Shanghai. The school has just been completed, ready for the September intake. The design places flexibility and connectivity at the forefront, so that the learning experience can be more easily tailored to students.

Lorena Zhi, group marketing director at Wellington College, discussed the importance of branding, particular in relation to international schools, and the ways in which the heritage and tradition of these brands can be communicated in a relevant way to Chinese audiences.

Wuxi/Hangzhou Kings College School was the final case study of the day, presented by JiQiang Ma from Dipont Education China. It focused on the inclusion of high quality, non-teaching facilities within developments such as sport and leisure facilities and food and beverage options. These were put forward as examples of ways that schools can distinguish their offer and add value to the student experience.

The event closed with a panel discussion on the impact of changing demographics on the demand for different education spaces, and how this is leading to a range of opportunities for operators and developers.

 

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