Architects Aukett Swanke have completed their first new office building in the Eastside Locks regeneration area in Birmingham: The Joseph Priestley Building, a 45,000 sq ft Grade A office space at 6 Cardigan street for property developer Goodman.
When the building received planning in 2014 the development marked a turning point in Birmingham’s economy as the first speculative office in the city since the global financial crisis.
The whole building has been let to Birmingham City University, situated next door to its new Curzon and Parkside buildings, which will be home to 400 of the University’s professional services staff from September 2016. Previously known as 6 Cardigan Street, University employees were invited to name the new building and chose The Joseph Priestley Building after the former Birmingham resident and scientist.
The four-storey office development features an oversailing cantilevered corner on the southwest side of the building, which forms the main entrance and addresses the primary approach to the site from Eastside City Park. The facade comprises continuous curtain walling, articulated with vertical glazed ceramic fins, which are separated by strong, horizontal elements in glass reinforced concrete, while individual window bays are further articulated by vertical and horizontal back painted panels. Escape stairs clad in perforated aluminium create contrasting solid forms which anchor the building composition on the north and east approaches.
Inside the building, the floor plans are U-shaped, and face onto a semi-public courtyard at the east side. Open-plan floors allow for maximum flexibility and each level can be easily sub-divided if required.
Aukett Swanke are the architects behind the Eastside Locks masterplan, one of the largest new developments located close to the planned HS2 rail station, designed to form a new hub for Birmingham, with circa 650,000sqft of new office space housing start up companies, SME’s and large established occupiers. There will be housing alongside the canal and potentially a hotel at the northern end of the site. Restaurants and shops will be situated on the ground floor throughout the development to serve the local area.
Aukett Swanke were able to lead the design to create a series of different spaces drawing upon the character of the area and setting up the opportunity for high-quality architecture. The next phase of the Eastside Locks development includes the restoration of the historic Belmont Works, which received planning earlier this year, as well as No8 Cardigan Street adjacent to the Joseph Priestley Building.
Aukett Swanke Managing Director Luke Schuberth said: “The Eastside Locks masterplan will involve regeneration within a particular opportunity zone but also witnesses a wider shift in the centre of gravity for Birmingham as a whole. The individual projects on the site, such as the Joseph Priestley Building, demonstrate how the working landscape of the whole city is changing in the near future and we’re delighted to be a part of it. ”
Professor Cliff Allan, Vice-Chancellor, Birmingham City University, said: “The face of Eastside is very different compared to 10 years ago. There is significant investment coming into the area, which is accelerating its transformation. As a University, we are proving our commitment to continuing this with the ongoing expansion of our City Centre Campus, including the lease of The Joseph Priestley Building. ”
Councilor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is a hugely significant step in an ongoing project to regenerate a key canalside location and breathe new life into this area of the city. The completion of this first phase now paves the way for the continued transformation of this important site into a thriving destination for people to work, live and enjoy themselves, attracting further investment in our city, creating more jobs and further boosting our economy. I am excited to see this project develop.”
For more press information on this project and Aukett Swanke please contact:
Gloria Roberts and Miriam Mandel at Caro Communications
T: +44 (0) 20 7713 9388