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Graeme Massie triumphs in Birmingham Centenary Square contest

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June 18 2015

Graeme Massie triumphs in Birmingham Centenary Square contest
Graeme Massie Architects have been confirmed as winners of an architectural design contest for the remodeling of Birmingham’s Centenary Square following a competition organized by the RIBA.

Defined as a new ‘public room’ for the city the project seeks to impart a clear identity upon the space with a regular grid of slender columns defining the volume whilst also offering light ( and possibly sound).

Below this a white precast concrete surface has been specified alongside groves of Maple and Birch trees, a cherry orchard, reflecting pool and events space.

In a statement the practice said: “We are delighted to have won the competition for Centenary Square in Birmingham. 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.”

The proposal follows a botched competition to redevelop Glasgow’s George Square which saw an ambitious John McAslan scheme dismissed in favour of temporary grey resin.
Existing elements such as Plane trees and the library void will be retained
Existing elements such as Plane trees and the library void will be retained
Massie previously won an international design competition for Oxford's Bonn Square in 2008
Massie previously won an international design competition for Oxford's Bonn Square in 2008

5 Comments

Daniel
#1 Posted by Daniel on 18 Jun 2015 at 14:35 PM
Enjoyable narrative on the project boards, well deserved.
wonky
#2 Posted by wonky on 18 Jun 2015 at 15:30 PM
Why couldn't we get something as simple & elegant like this for George Square...oh wait! I remember!
Billy
#3 Posted by Billy on 18 Jun 2015 at 18:15 PM
I think we need to stop using George square as an event space and create a new square east of st enochs for events where the car parks are. We could then redevelop the square paving it with Caithness stone and maybe a water feature to make the square a place of tranquility rather than event space. Again other cities se to be more decisive about their public spaces.
wonky
#4 Posted by wonky on 18 Jun 2015 at 21:37 PM
The dead hand of corporatism has way to much influence in our city. Billy I think you're right about George Sq but the evidence of the Concert Hall steps/extension of Buchanan Galleries/the mess that passes for St Enoch Sq I think the privatization of public space is the norm in Glasgow (hence the relentless money making 'events' in George Square). Although I would rather see those car parks at Stockwell Street turned into mixed use/high density flats I do think you might be onto something with that idea...at least one of the car parks could be used for an events space.
Billy
#5 Posted by Billy on 19 Jun 2015 at 07:31 AM
Thanks Wonky. I too despair of St Enoch Square. It will never have the elegance it once had before when the station was there and before that monstrosity of a building in the south of the Square was built . The old supermarket is an eyesore and should be demolished. Either build something to compliment the Square or open up the square down to the river to create interest on our riverscape at that part of the river. It would be nice to see that part of the river being used in the good weather giving people somewhere to sit. For too long it was a drinking den and thankfully that has changed. I am surprised at businesses not trying to exploit that area for their own profit and more importantly for the benefit of the area. Even in bad weather I would not mind sitting in a bar or restaurant overlooking the river . Be kind of cosy. We can't change the weather so we just have to embrace as best we can. There is a corridor from St Enoch Square down to the river along Clyde st to the Briggait and back up to Glassford Street which should be explored. We are missing a trick. A new Square to the East of the St Enoch would complete this piece of the jigsaw and also draw in the Briggait.

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