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Centenary Square redesign contest won by Scottish architects

Centenary Square redesign contest won by Scottish architects

🕔17.Jun 2015

Edinburgh-based Graeme Massie Architects have been selected to transform Centenary Square, one of Birmingham city centre’s largest public spaces.

The firm saw off local rivals to win a design competition launched by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Landscape Institute on behalf of Birmingham City Council.

The winning design was selected from a shortlist of just five by a panel of judges, which included city council deputy leader Ian Ward.

Judges explained why they were impressed with the winning scheme, known as the Hall of Columns:

  • The lighting columns will provide a unique and iconic image for Birmingham.
  • The scheme is multi-dimensional, incorporating trees, seating and water with a ceiling of lights which can be appreciated not just from the square but from the terrace of the library and the higher floors of surrounding buildings too.
  • The ‘timeless simplicity’ of the design offers the flexibility for the location to be used for a wide range of events in the long-term.
  • The design fits in well with the existing and planned developments in the area and complements the history of the square as well as providing an iconic design for the future.

Director Graeme Massie was named Architect of the Year 2010 at the Scottish Design Awards and won the Royal Scottish Academy Gold Medal for Architecture in both 2005 and 2007.

Prior to establishing his own practice, Graeme was an associate with LDN Architects in Edinburgh, where he was responsible for a number of prestigious projects, including the 2002 RIBA Award-winning Birmingham Hippodrome, the redevelopment of Parliament House and the Usher Hall in Edinburgh and the courtyard development at St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh.

Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham city council, 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 that 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.

Graeme Massie said:

We are delighted to have won the competition for Centenary Square. 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, 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 Enterprise Zone investment plan, which 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 LEPs plans.

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