Birmingham is the thriving hub of the English Midlands. The city has a long history as an industrial hub and a centre of manufacturing. To facilitate the movement of goods, it developed a canal network which is longer than that of Venice.
While Birmingham is ranked top UK regional city for quality of life, what you may not know is that it is also home to some stunning modern architecture.
1. Selfridges Building
At the heart of Birmingham is the Bullring shopping centre, and the Selfridges building there, opened in 2003, won the Royal Institute of British Architects award in 2004. Sometimes rather harshly described as ‘blobitecture’, it has inspired many similar buildings elsewhere.
2. Millennium Point Car Park
You may not think of car parks as being architecturally significant, but the BCC car park adjacent to Millennium Point was voted as one of the world’s top ten coolest car parks in 2013. It has blue acrylic panels that make the car park appear to glow a ghostly blue during the night.
3. Library of Birmingham
Opened in 2013, the Library of Birmingham became Architect Journal’s building of the year. It cost more than £188 million to construct and is designed to be green as well as stylish thanks to its ground source heating system.
4. The Cube
If you’re considering serviced apartments in Birmingham such as those at www.8waterloostreet.co.uk/, then you won’t be too far from the Cube. Part of the Mailbox complex, this landmark building contains restaurants, leisure facilities, event spaces and more. The distinctive exterior design is inspired by Birmingham’s industrial and jewellery manufacturing traditions. It was designed by Birmingham-born architect Ken Shuttleworth, who had a hand in the design of the distinctive London Gherkin too.
5. The River
Although officially called The River, the female figure in the fountain at the heart of Birmingham’s Victoria Square has become known locally as the ‘Floozie in the Jacuzzi’. Installed in 1993, the statue is meant to represent life force. She weighs one and three-quarter tonnes, and the fountain she sits in has a flow rate of 3,000 gallons a minute, making it one of the largest in Europe. Surrounding the central figure are two smaller figures intended to represent youth and two stone animals with a Sphinx-like appearance.