A decidedly spiky piece of architecture is about to make the city’s Millennium Point a lot pointier.
The design has been chosen after an architecture competition to create a landmark pavilion in the new Eastside quarter of Birmingham. The elegant structure will be built in Jennens Road in a bid to make the area more recognisable on the city’s skyline.
RIBA, the professional body for architects, opened the contest in December and a design by Londoners Daniel Madeiros, an architectural assistant at EPR Architects, and Jonathan Schwinge, design director at Schwinge, has been chosen.
Millennium Point is now looking for commercial partners to drum up the funding to build the pavilion.
The brief was to showcase the building as a “centre for science, technology, innovation and learning, mark the building from a distance, carry its new branding and catch the eye”.
The pair fought off competition from international architects BDP, London designers De Matos Ryan, Birmingham’s K4 Architects, Make Architects, which has an office in Birmingham, and Quixotic Architecture, which has offices in Brighton and Croatia.
Mr Madeiros said: “It was a pleasure to meet the panel and present a proposal that will inspire and give a long lasting sense of legacy to the site. The proposal is a concise response to the competition brief and the site, our interest is a sculptural form which has precision and elegance – an object to soften and revitalise the local environment.”
The judging panel, which included Gabrielle Omar, the first architect to appear on BBC’s The Apprentice show, were unanimous in their decision to appoint
The young team of James Lew and Kieren Majhail from BDP and K4 Architects led by Bob Ghosh were both commended by the judges.
While Eastside Park recently opened on the south side of the building, Philip Singleton, chief executive of Millennium Point, said that in contrast the north side looked “sad, tired and presents a poor image”. This was exacerbated by a lack of pedestrians, he added.
“The panel was struck by the beauty and grace of the winning idea which was underpinned by craft and technology that convinced us that the dramatic form could be constructed,” Mr Singleton said.
“We chose two further submissions and commended them for their approach and thoroughness.”
Gavin Orton, chairman of RIBA West Midlands, said: “The panel was impressed by the quality of the schemes and diversity of entrants.
“Each demonstrated sensitivity to the complexities of the site and an understanding of the client’s ambitions.
“The creativity, dedication and commitment of the architectural community continues to inspire and I’m sure Millennium Point will benefit greatly from this competition and the opportunities it now has for its next phase of architectural evolution.”
Millenium Point has submitted plans to Birmingham City Council to illuminate the letters of its name, which have sat behind grills for 11 years, as a backdrop to Eastside Park, so that it is more visible to millions of railway passengers on their way in and out of New Street station.
The proposal is expected to go before the council planning committee in April.
The building, which is home to The Giant Screen cinema, Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum and Birmingham City University’s school of acting, plans to launch new branding in June.
“We want to be more recognisable on the skyline of Birmingham and beyond,” Mr Singleton said.