A city architecture expert has added to criticisms of plans for the new Conservatoire, saying the plans seem to ignore the importance of external appearance.
Post columnist Joe Holyoak said that while some criticism of the new Eastside building was unnecessary, the case for the giant brick building has not been made.
He added that while city councillors’ criticisms of the building were “trivial”, Birmingham City University’s (BCU) response seemed to ignore the importance of external appearance.
Writing in this week’s Post, Mr Holyoak says: “Although the dismissive criticisms of “it looks like a ...” are trivial, they are generated by an uncertainty in the architecture as to what it should be expressing.
“It is remarkable that, in his letter to this newspaper (December 25, 2014) rebutting the criticisms, BCU’s Professor David Roberts gives eight defences of the Conservatoire’s design, none of which refer to its external appearance.
“He is wrong when he writes ‘it’s what happens on the inside that counts’. External appearance is part of the public realm: it matters too.”
The Post unveiled newly submitted plans for the building, which is moving from Paradise Circus, earlier this week, but it was described as “ugly” and “totally underwhelming” on our Facebook page late last year.
BCU’s Prof Roberts made an impassioned defence of the £40 million Birmingham Conservatoire, announced following a move from Paradise Circus, saying first and foremost it had to be ideal for musical performances.
He added it was an “inspired choice” of location in Eastside and promised it would “force the world to sit up and take note”.
Prof Roberts pointed out that a conservatoire cannot be built from glass and steel for acoustic reasons, adding “It can’t look like an airport lounge or the latest shopping mall”.
He said: “A conservatoire is a special kind of building. It’s a place for teaching and a place for performing. It must contain sound and project it, with walls of a certain thickness to keep sound in, and concert spaces of a certain height to let sound bloom.