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Shortlisted architects named in contest to transform Centenary Square

Shortlisted architects named in contest to transform Centenary Square

🕔13.Jan 2015

Five teams of architects are in a shortlist to transform Centenary Square in Birmingham city centre.

Two of the firms chosen to re-design the 25-year-old civic square – Atkins and Broadway Malyon – are based in Birmingham.

The other three are Barton Willmore from Reading, Graeme Massie Architects, Edinburgh, and Open Studio Architects with United Visual Artists, London.

The contenders were chosen by a panel consisting of experts from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Landscape Institute and Birmingham city council.

Judges looked anonymously at 185 entries from across the world over several days .

Initial concepts will be developed by the five teams and final schemes will go on public display in May before the final judging by the panel in June.

Sasha Bhavan, of Knox Bhavan Architects, RIBA adviser, said: “We were impressed with the number and calibre of entries. From 185 entries covering 30 countries, anonymous judging and a broad spectrum of submissions made it almost impossible to shortlist just five, all of whom should be absolutely delighted.

“It was the impressive analysis and empathy with the site and city which probably resulted in an all UK shortlist, two of which are Birmingham practices. We are looking forward to being surprised and delighted with the developing next stage of the competition.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the shortlisted five and Birmingham to show how innovative thoughtful design can transform a major public civic space.”

Cllr Ian Ward, deputy leader of Birmingham city council and a member of the judging panel, said: “As anticipated, this competition attracted some truly exceptional entries from across the world, making it all the more difficult to select just five for the shortlist.

“Although judging was done anonymously, I am delighted that two Birmingham practices have made the shortlist, seeing off fierce competition from a wide range of international entries.

“This competition demonstrates that Birmingham is not afraid to embrace innovative and unusual ideas and I now look forward to the next stage of the competition when we will choose a winning design truly fitting of a world class city.”

Funding for the project is being provided via Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP’s £275 million Enterprise Zone investment plan to support development and public realm improvements within the city centre and the wider region in order to drive economic growth.

Chris Webster, board director for GBSLEP said: “It is great that this competition has proved so popular and attracted interest from leading architects and designers, not only in the UK but also from across the globe, underlining Birmingham’s position as city of interest on the world stage.

“We believe the project will provide a fantastic opportunity for the ultimate winner when it is announced. Our ambitions for Centenary Square are to create an attractive environment in line with the LEP’s goals to improve the quality of life for the people who live and work here and provide an inspirational and aspirational place to attract inward investment and tourism.”

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