An eclectic mix of architectural styles, periods and uses is one of Birmingham's greatest architectural treasures - and taking a walk up Holloway Head in the city centre demonstrates this perfectly.
Two doors down from the most expensive apartment in the city is a building with a fascinating history.
The 'flatted factory' in Holloway Head, known as Lee Bank Business Centre, was built by Birmingham City Council in the late 1950s to accommodate small industrial units displaced by redevelopment schemes in the city centre.
This is a building with a rich history, one which is part of Birmingham's history - the 'city of a thousand trades' and 'workshop of the world'.
And it is has a sister building in Dartmouth Queensway - but one with a very different future mapped out for it.
These two flatted factories, as they came to be known, were the first to be built in Birmingham, the Dartmouth Street site being completed just before Holloway Head.
Just up from Holloway Circus, start your walk on the corner of Holloway Head and Blucher Street and follow the line of the building up Blucher Street to the crossing with Chapman's Passage.
You pass an entrance to the flatted factory which retains its delightful original 1950s design. Looking back, you can see the full extent of the building.
Note the coloured panels which emphasise its horizontal sweep.
The red, blue and yellow of the panels are somewhat faded now, but still striking: Birmingham's own three-dimensional Mondrian painting!
Look around and you will see a perfect example of Birmingham's interesting and varied cityscape.
Opposite is Trefoil House, the headquarters of the Guiding Association, with its excellent art deco-style semi-circular bow.
Should you venture further up Blucher Street, you will find a tiled 1906 pub, The Craven Arms, the Italianate 1855-6 Singers Hill Synagogue, a variety of modern apartment blocks and a view of Birmingham's iconic The Cube.
Continue along Chapman's Passage and Lee Bank Business Centre reveals itself to be an L-shaped building with accessible parking and service areas.
Inside, the building retains period features with original steel bannisters and rectangular spiral staircases, which you can glimpse through the windows.
Turn left onto Marshall Street and return to Holloway Head. At this point you are standing alongside the restored Concord House with its controversial, cantilevered penthouse costing £1.8 million.
The original brochure advertising the units for rent in Lee Bank Business Centre and its sister building in Dartmouth Street emphasises the connections between the small industrial communities, highlighting the need for those renting premises to retain close proximity in their new location.
These flatted factories were designed to improve working conditions, replacing 'sub-standard properties' in the city centre.
A plaque in the entrance to the Lee Bank centre records the 1958 opening of the building of which Birmingham was then so proud in the presence of the great and good of Birmingham City Council.
The building originally comprised 25 units distributed over seven floors - rent in 1958 ranged between 5/6d and 6/- (approx. 27p and 30p).
One of the first firms to take up the city's offer in Lee Bank still occupies premises on the second floor, enjoying the spectacular light essential for the work they do.
Gale and Co. is now an internationally renowned picture-framing and restoration business.
But now the city has put the Lee Bank Business Centre site out to tender, offering potential support for a 12-storey mixed-use redevelopment, implying the existing building is no longer fit for purpose.
This is clearly not the case. The building is sound and is about half occupied. It is unreasonable of the city to neglect the maintenance of one of their own buildings and then claim that it cannot be refurbished.
The potential for a mix of public (the Government Art Collection is apparently coming to Birmingham) commercial and domestic units could easily be explored.
Rather than thinking of demolition, the best option is refurbishing or repurposing our iconic and historic buildings.
Lee Bank Business Centre may be threatened, but its sister building, Waterlinks House, in Dartmouth Street is being refurbished as King Solomon International Business School.
Another refurbishment success story flourishes in the Jewellery Quarter. Big Peg opened in 1971 and small displaced enterprises were rehoused from local, substandard accommodation.
It has the benefit of being in a conservation area and continues to provide accommodation for commercial and industrial enterprises.
The building enjoys almost full occupancy while retaining most of its exterior integrity as a building of the 1960s. The high footfall and the attractions of the Jewellery Quarter undoubtedly fosters interest in a building like Big Peg.
But the same could be true of the Holloway Head area. As more flats are built, local enterprises need to be retained to save the area becoming a dormitory.
Lee Bank Business Centre is not just a building of historic interest, it is home to local, long-standing Birmingham enterprises. It has the potential to be the heart of a community in an area boasting a variety of activity and architecture.
Mary Keating represents the Brutiful Brum group which campaigns to preserve Birmingham's remaining Brutalist landmarks