Project: Birmingham Markets Park
Principle Designer: Peter Culley
As a counter-proposal to the approved Smithfield Masterplan, this approach responds both to client ‘CityPark4Brum’s desire for a significant green space in the heart of Birmingham, teamed with a recognition that the site’s nearly one thousand year history as the city’s market location should not be wiped away.
Existing buildings, as yet perhaps unremarkable to the general passer-by, are transformed to become the essence of the scheme, whilst the multiple-environment park strategy creates major green linkages across the city centre and beyond. The intriguing natural river system and constructed canal network in the centre of Birmingham in tandem - and a result of - the striking but somewhat hidden local topography, is taken into account to create a more sustainable and aesthetically-strong hydraulic story, including a reference to the moat that sat around Peter de Birmingham’s feudal compound in this very location.
This response asserts that a ‘tabula rasa’ approach is not appropriate, especially in a city that is still recovering from clean slate moves over several generations, and that existing structures and physical topographies are available to tell important stories when carefully adjusted.