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shape the future ...

Editorial Team




I’m an aspiring illustrator who comes from Lichfield with an ambition to specialise in illustration during university. I have contributed some of the illustrations in the magazine and have helped with layout and design. I love to explore new ideas and to think outside the box.

I am a Brummy born and bred and an aspiring illustrator aswell. I am a wellfocused person who only settles for perfection. I have used my skills and knowledge to contribute information and illustrations for the magazine. I hope to follow the path to specialise in illustration.

Abbie Shalini Lauren I’m an aspiring graphic designer from a small town in Shropshire. I have a good work ethic which allows me to focus on my goals in order to achieve them. I have been the co-designer for the magazine and contributed typography and logos.

I am a creative and I am an experimental experimental person graphic designer from Coventry who from Tamworth, who wishes to specialise loves to go out and in graphic design. explore the world. I have a broad Within the magazine knowledge within the I have contributed creative arts which my creative vision, allows me to share allowing us to create my skills within the a professional looking magazine. I have magazine. I love assisted with the ident to experiment with and help co-design different techniques with magazine. and mix photography and graphics.

Contents 4

big city plan



10 Moat Square 12 typhoo square 15 ident 16 greener city 18 what could have been 21 50 years on


big city plan

The Big City Plan is Birmingham’s grand master plan for a brighter future and a world-class city centre. It is one of the most ambitious projects in the UK and is expanding the city centre by a further 25%, to ensure its title as the second city. The vision looks forward 20 years to futuristic design and architecture, though it may not include the hover boards we are promised in blockbuster releases, the plan strives to fit in seamlessly into the vision of the future.

Five areas are key to its time travel regeneration. The new library only kick starts development in the Westside; it will soon be followed by the renewal of Paradise Circus, Arena Central and Baskerville Wharf. All of these will be to entice the public further into the city. The £600 million New Street Station, still under construction, will boast a John Lewis department store. Snow Hill district will receive a rebirth of quality office developments. The Southern Gateway gives way to a refurbishment of the wholesale markets and a number of public spaces, such as Moat Square. Finally, Eastside holds the key to the controversial High Speed 2 terminals, though the route has not yet been given the green light and the area now hosts a very green city park. It will be the first park to be built in the city for over 100 years. The plan tells of many more developments, such as, opening up canal spaces and public areas, improving walkability across the city and creating iconic buildings to stand tall within the city’s skyline. In note of this, the plan has also been heavily criticised for planning such an ambitious project during another British recession. Clive Dutton, Birmingham’s director of planning and regeneration, argues that Brindleyplace was built in the 1980’s recession and still remains a great success. The whopping £17 billion value on the plan, is to be funded by the city’s stakeholders. There is caution over raising this amount, understandably, but at the moment this seems to be outweighed by the excitement of a new and shiny city. One of the shiniest, literally being the 50-storey V building, where visual renditions of the building are already on view, along with many other projects. These experiments and artist impressions give the public a template of what we can expect our future city to look like.


So we may not be able to expect scenes of Wall-e, hover cars or robot neighbours, but the Big City Plan is a radical change for the city and could even make the morning commute more bearable!


Shape the future ...



“it’s abominable; it’s like a punch in the face by an architectural fist”


Beorma B

eorma Quarter, named after the Anglo-Saxon king who founded the settlement, that would later become the city of Birmingham. The name Birmingham actually derives from the term ‘Beorma’s Ham’ meaning the homestead of Beorma. Much has changed since the days of those first settlers and Birmingham now stands as a historically significant yet modern and ever-evolving city. The bold new plans for the Beorma Quarter sound like another new page in that illustrious history. But when asked for his thoughts on the proposed £200m tower that will be the centre piece of the redevelopment of Birmingham’s Beorma Quarter, Andy Foster, a member of the city’s Conservative and Heritage Panel, gave a less than positive review. “It’s abominable; It’s like a punch in the face by an architectural fist”. Looking at the architects digital concepts of how the tower will look upon completion, I’m hit with a similar feeling myself. Though Fosters objections may be based on sound reasons, such as it being built outside of the city’s designated tall building area and right in the middle of a conservation area; my problem with it is more basic, it’s an eyesore. Most of the time you can find the beauty in modern architecture, even when its gets a bit outlandish, because often if you don’t like it at face value you can find another aspect of it to appreciate. Factors such as the way it relates to the buildings around it, the feats of engineering and technology that went into its construction, or the

idea that it’s trying to represent. I’m not sure the currently proposed Beorma Tower would answer any of those criteria other than perhaps the engineering aspect. It seems out of place and out of scale with its setting and lacks any redeeming aesthetic qualities. Its design is highly geometric, making use of cubic forms that intersect and forge irregular new shapes that are unique and distinctly modern. The exterior that this generates is a love it or hate it kind of thing. But with it being 27 storeys high, totalling 600,000 sq ft of office leisure and retail space, you won’t be able to just ignore it. One issue that springs to mind looking at the visual concept of the tower, is how the interior spaces might work; can such an odd structure contain efficient and functional spaces? Will it be easy to navigate? And will the potential of certain spaces be curbed in the name of its abstract exterior? These questions are difficult to answer whilst the site lays empty, so on that front perhaps only time will tell, and since completion of the tower is still a few years away at best I may be getting ahead of myself with all of these criticisms and questions. Who’s to say that once the entirety of the Big City Plan comes to fruition that the tower will be so at odds with the rest of the cityscape? Perhaps by then Birmingham will be strewn with other futuristic buildings just like it.


The master plan is renovating much more than skyscrapers and buildings, were also seeing proposals for more public spaces. Moat Square is due to be part of the Southside and Highgate renovation and will provide a large park space to link the city centre to the area. The wholesale market currently surrounding the spot will be relocated to create an opportunity for a wider area of change. The centrepiece for the region will then be Moat Square, that is due to sit on the archeological remains of the original manor house. The historical value of the site is hopefully to be commemorated as part of the square’s layout. The new plan poses exciting ideas of community and park space that will bring more people to the south of the city centre, bringing along with it more retail and leisure opportunities to surround the square. It will become a focus for local culture and may even draw in a few spontaneous performances to the arena shaped seating.


moat square


As part of the Digbeth development, Typhoo Basin is one of many new public realms to give us fresh green grass and sparkling water features. The mixed-use development will extend out onto the canal network with many more developments following after. The attractive Basin space will provide a much-needed revival for the area and current builds will be converted to compliment the new zone. The plan is to create a strong character for the space, keeping a mix of small traditional buildings aswell as new developments. This is in the hope to draw crowds and events to the new look for Digbeth, for lively festivals and cultural celebrations alongside live and work units at Warwick Bar. The Basin promises to be a very exciting new space, may even be worth investing in a canal boat!


typhoo basin




greener city W

e want to live in a city that is vibrant, affordable, and sustainable, this can only be achieved by making the cities more efficient. As Ricky Burdett, the director of the Urban Age program at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said at a recent conference in Istanbul, “If you make cities more efficient, you make the world more sustainable.” With 180,000 people moving into different cities everyday, 75 percent of the global population is expected to be living in urban life style by 2050. Birmingham city centre has an important role to play in helping to succeed this goal and to contribute to achieving the wider concern for maintainable development and adjust to climate change.


These concerns include: • Provide a better energy efficiency to the city’s homes and buildings. • Bring down the city’s reliance on reducing the current use of energy through low- carbon energy generation and energy planning.

• Reducing the city’s impact on non-renewable resource use through resource management. • Reducing the environmental impact of the city’s mobility needs through low- carbon transport. This project of transforming the city to a greener city also includes the scheme about improving public transport, promoting a network of pedestrian and cycle route. Also increasing the network of electric charging points for motor vehicles; and supporting denser mixed-use developments including more housing. As well as, creating and improving open spaces such as parks and gardens by promoting

the use of new technologies and emphasising the role of our built culture for conversion and recycle. These will all contribute to show changes and create more balanced patterns of development. The changes towards the new city buildings includes roofs and walls and the spaces around buildings with opportunities for small garden/land in residential neighbourhoods. Increased biodiversity will be important to improving environmental quality and reducing water wasting. The plan of making the city a greener city will need to show strong sustainability identification and combine a response to the impacts

of climate changes. This will involve the energy efficiency and low in carbon energy supply, this includes making sure that new development is a model standard of sustainable design and construction. Making use of sustainable sources of materials; such as water efficiency and preventing flood risks. This increases biodiversity, reduces waste and is supported by a high quality ‘Future proofed’ construction design. As the city is transformed into a greener city and becomes more efficient, it will help the world become more sustainable, just as what Mr. Burdett has said in the Urban age programme.


what could have been? H

ave you ever wondered what certain places may have looked like? Like the iconic Selfridges building in Birmingham; what if that was supposed to look completely different, even normal? Or instead of the Birmingham City University Parkside campus, there was going to be a 200 metre observation tower come fairground ride? Before the university took over the site, RTKL Architects designed an observation tower and mix-use development called the Birmingham Pinnacle in 2006. Looking at some of the architectures designs, it has the look of a modernised BT Tower mixed with a giant drinks cup complete with straw plus a £75 million price tag, which may have been one of the reasons it was cancelled in 2008. Another reason could have been was that they were thinking of something better, something more dangerously out there. Instead, they designed the VTP200, also known as The Tripod, described as a ‘vertical fun palace’ or as I would call it, the 200 metre death trap. It looks like it has come from some alien planet and the inhabitants decided they wanted to


visit the Think-tank at Millennium Point, so obviously they had to get the best car parking space right next door. The building definitely has a futuristic, scifi element to it, with the ‘Tripod’, use of shape and the glass observation desk. If built the VTP200 would house a 200 room hotel, 3 viewing platforms (the tallest being at 125 metres), plus the main viewing area which turns out to be 3 glass elevators that revolve around the centre tower to a height of 190 metres. Also there will be a variety of activities to scare the living crap out of its visitors, including the ‘Great Drop’, a 95 metre free falling lift, the ‘See Saw’, a capsule that falls off the edge of the tower from 125 metres, as well as a rock climbing wall and a Flight Trainer, just for the fun of it.

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And if you thought that was the worst, there is also the ‘Walk of Fear’, where you can walk around the edge of the building, attached only by a harness, and the ‘Sky Jump’, a 100 metre bungee jump. Basically, think of it as a theme park within one building, just with more health and safety risks. And with its £95 million price tag, maybe the VTP200 building was too much risk for it to be able to become a reality. Even though it would have looked incredible, I think the many people seeming to jump from the top may have reflected badly on the overall building. Leave the ‘fun’ things to Alton Towers boys!



50 years on

implicate more green spaces to allow people space to relax and socialize without the need to leave the city. By Birmingham merging the city and the countryside it could create an idyllic lifestyle and boost the city’s growth. The Big City Plan main aim for the project is to make the city more walkable. I feel this going to play a huge part in 50 years’ time, it’s going to keep people fit and healthy and not to heavy rely on robots and technology like they did on the Famous Disney film Wall-e. Flying cars? Only time will tell, if they become environmental viable. Hopefully by 50 years Birmingham will be the first flying car port which will make it talk of the century. Let’s not let the flying car disappear from our imagination and let’s make it work!


magine Birmingham today, what do you see? An international city filled with culture, nightlife, architecture and creativity. Sixty three years ago, there was a vision that focused on the reconstruction of Birmingham in the 1940’S and 50’s after the Second World War. Visions of flying cars, clean metallic buildings and futuristic fashions were common aspects to what people may have thought what Birmingham may have looked like in 2002.

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What does the future hold for Birmingham? There are so many expectations about the future of our world given to us by science fiction. It’s all well and good but we need to craft our own future, rather than rely on block buster movies for inspiration. Why follow the crowd Birmingham? Why should we follow the expectations that films and books want us too? Birmingham’s going to follow an individual path and become a very unique city within this ever expanding world.

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Paul Cadbury was someone who expected these visions, and produced a book with familiar streets and places in Birmingham which he imagined what they would have looked like 50 years later. The vision for Birmingham’s redevelopment has changed drastically over the years. Unfortunately Cadbury’s vision has not come to fruition yet.

The architecture in 50 years won’t follow the traditional patterns of a science fiction block buster film. It’s going to be modern and sleek using glass as a primary material. Adventurous architecture, revolutionary transport and economic will be the key to a perfect future city. If Birmingham follows through with this it will be become more than just the UK’s second city.

In 50 years’ time I visualize Birmingham becoming a greener city involving natural roof top spaces overlooking the skyline. For Birmingham to become an even more unique and individual city I feel it needs to


50 years on ...




Futuristic Outlook into Birmingham