One of Birmingham's most iconic office blocks, created at the peak of the city's post-war redevelopment, has been given official Grade II listing by the Government.
Alpha Tower, originally built as the headquarters of ATV and opened in 1973, was recommended for the listing by English Heritage which called it "one of the most aesthetically successful office buildings in Birmingham", earning it the legal protection of an official listing.
While many surrounding buildings of a similar age, such as the derelict ATV studios and Central Library, are on the brink of demolition as part of Arena Central and Paradise Circus respectively, it means that the white tower with its distinctive contoured design is most likely here to stay as the listing provides certain protection.
It does not, however, mean the building can never be altered or demolished but any changes now require special permission.
The 28-storey office block famously appeared in the Birmingham-based Cliff Richard movie Take Me High and BBC show Hustle.
It has been largely empty since Birmingham City Council staff moved out in 2010. After going into receivership, it was snapped up by Anglo Scandinavian Estates Group earlier this year for £14 million and is undergoing refurbishment in time to be let along with the new office developments at Arena Central and Paradise Circus.
Alpha Tower was designed by Birmingham-born architect George Marsh, of the Richard Seifart Practice. Marsh was also responsible for London's famous Centre Point tower.
According to English Heritage: "The building is one of the most aesthetically successful office buildings in Birmingham with a shaped outline and careful detailing giving it a dynamic forcefulness.
"Its design successfully combined several ideas into a powerful and elegant building which soon became, and has continued to be, one of the most popular landmarks of the rebuilding of Birmingham city centre in the mid 20th century."
Birmingham architectural historian Andy Foster welcomed the listing and said he hoped it would guarantee the tower's preservation.
"The tower was the creation of George Marsh, a wonderful designer who was responsible for some of the finest 60s tower blocks. He had a jazzy style with lots of angles. Alpha Tower has that in every feature. He was of course the designer of Centre Point which was derided for so long and is now rightly appreciated."
Mr Foster, author of the respected Pevsner Guide to Birmingham Architecture, added: "Alpha Tower is a high quality building by one of the best architects working in Britain in the 1960s. I am delighted it is on the list."
Philip Singleton, chief executive of Millennium Point and an architect, said: "This, in my view, remains one of Birmingham's best tall buildings. A truly high quality skyscraper.
"Why is it so good? Firstly, you can see it from tip to toe in all its glory – it touches the ground lightly and you can freely walk underneath its structure, unlike so many other tall structures which rest on plinths or crash into the ground thoughtlessly.
"Having worked within the building for almost seven years, my abiding memory was the flood of daylight. Each floor is serviced by plant sitting in part within the narrow slots to the narrowest part of the plan, allowing fresh air to penetrate where needed.
"I used to exploit the amazing view with visitors and point out the great things and the mistakes planners and architects had made over the generations.
"I have long thought this building worthy of listing. It really does deserve its sustained place in Birmingham's skyline and the changing context of rather formulaic architecture that perhaps will emerge around it. I am very fond of it."
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