Listed buildings should come with a bit of a health warning. They can become a costly obsession and are certainly not for everyone. A number of our institutional clients will always avoid bringing sites with listed buildings into their portfolio, given the inherent problems that they carry.
However, others see heritage as the means to create places and identity, which sometimes have immeasurable value in real estate terms.
K4 Architects are privileged to be working on some of the most significant heritage projects in Birmingham, including the Central Fire Station, Warwick Bar and The School Yard in Harborne. Although the assets are in levels of disrepair ranging from moderate to severe, without these buildings, the places would not have the same meaning or character. Through both their architecture and their historic uses, listed buildings add a layer of richness to the environment which cannot be otherwise created or manufactured. Nevertheless, the design process is far more involved and complex, as is the construction.
I sit in a quirky first floor office with a barrel-vaulted ceiling, a flagstone floor and a steel strongroom door. My view is a disused banana warehouse and cattle bridge and a historic stoplock, which later became the beginning of the Grand Union Canal. The room itself was Birmingham Canal Navigation’s archive room, where they kept canal records and probably cash collected in toll from the nearby lock. When we took the lease on this building, our instinct was not to modernise, but to peel back the layers of history. The 1970’s steel radiators therefore ended up in a skip and we reinstated all of the fireplaces, which we use to burn biomass.
In the case of the School Yard, the client EDG and K4 share this sense of fascination with the listed building. The essence of the project is to rediscover the inherent qualities of this building and make only subtle changes to the envelope and internal structure.
In the diary for 7th February with a Monte Carlo theme, the 2013 Midlands Property Quiz is all set to take on the property industry in support of charities Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital and Lionheart.
It’s over a decade now since its inception and the Quiz still continues to attract the region’s property professionals, raising awareness for the good causes. Neil Edginton Managing Director of EDG Property and The Cube will chair the popular black tie event which will launch with luxury brands Ferrari and Maserati setting the scene for the glamorous evening at Aston Villa Football Club.
Fidelis Navas of Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital said; “Throughout our 150 years of looking after children from all across the country, the business sector has played an integral role in our ability to provide a high level of service.
We are so pleased to be friends with The Cube who share our aspirations in outstanding customer service (albeit for different “customers”) and the Midlands Property Quiz just proves what an impact collective action can make; it has contributed over £82,000 to our internationally renowned intensive care unit over the years.
It is partnerships like these that leave an amazing legacy for the children of tomorrow. You can’t beat that. Thanks so much to Neil and his team” she concluded.
Tickets are now on sale. To secure a table at The Midlands Property Quiz 2013 and the exclusive after party please contact email@example.com
As the seasons change, horticultural experts get to work at EDG Property’s Sandfields Barn with landscaping works that will soon bring the Stratford-upon-Avon development to life.
Avon Woodlands, who specialise in the design and construction of gardens and landscaping, has been commissioned to plan and deliver a considered soft landscaping scheme. Established for over 25 years and based locally in Luddington, the company covers the Midlands, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire areas.
Peter Lock, Director of Avon Woodlands said; “Our company works on projects of all sizes but we particularly enjoy crafting landscaping packages for bespoke homes such as Sandfields Barn.
It’s the perfect time of year for planting and seeding so we are busy at Sandfields Barn completing the lawned area, importing top soil, levelling and appointing shrubs, trees, bulbs and grass. The boundary hedges will be planted in November and early 2013 will see the installation of the planted moat.”
The scheme comprises of beautiful red oak and pretty maple trees which flank the private gated entrance.
Peter concludes; “We are particularly excited and looking forward to creating the impression of running water by using different plant species in the moat. The Sandfields Barn project has certainly allowed us to take inspiration from the landscape and use our creative skills to the full.”
For more information on Avon Woodlands visit www.avonwoodlands.co.uk
Birmingham has always been an interesting place architecturally. Back in the 1950s and 60s Herbert Manzoni’s masterplan pushed forward the inner ring road and redevelopment of the city core which paved the way for the Bull Ring the current New Street Station and Birmingham Central Library. He famously did not believe in the preservation of old buildings and as such many were lost. Regardless of whether their replacements had similar architectural merit or not, there is an argument that this development significantly contributed to the city’s economic development at the time, and also that his brave methods have continued to this day within the City Council.
Birmingham is not afraid to embrace bold architecture, and is brilliant at delivering the big statement buildings. The new Bullring and the Selfridges Building, the new New Street Gateway, the new Library of Birmingham, The Cube, all are indicative of a city that is not afraid to push boundaries. And whilst this is to be celebrated, again in the name of growth and development, it should not be to the detriment of the ‘sense of place’. A city is as much about the streets and places in between these landmarks as it is about the special buildings themselves. Looking at ways to preserve and enhance the fabric of the city, to stitch together the architecture and spaces, is crucial in pushing Birmingham forward and making it a place where people want to work, live and visit. We believe this will be just as important to the economic growth of the city in the future as the buildings themselves. So just like a fine piece of tailoring, let’s invest in the quality of the stitching and not just in the flashy lining.
With thanks to Greg Willis, Partner at Make Architects who has worked closely with Neil Edginton since 2005 on The Cube development. Make is a studio of architects and designers committed to designing buildings, spaces and places which are as striking and innovative as they are socially, economically and environmentally responsible. Founded by Ken Shuttleworth in January 2004, the practice has already established itself as one of the UK’s foremost architectural firms. Make delivered the Retail Birmingham Design Strategy, one of the component parts of Phase 2 of the Big City Plan, as a working guide as to how the streets and spaces within the Retail Birmingham Business Improvement District can be enhanced to attract new retailers, shoppers and businesses as well as improve wayfinding and linkages across the city.
EDG Property Managing Director Neil Edginton has been invited to speak at the IPF Midlands Board Annual Drinks Reception to be hosted this evening at The Laurent Perrier Champagne Bar of Marco Pierre White’s Restaurant at The Cube, Birmingham.
Neil, also Director at The Cube, will be sharing his experience of bringing a landmark building to life through challenging times. His audience will be the Investment Property Forum (IPF) recognised as the leading UK property investment organisation for individual members. It comprises an influential network of senior professionals all active in the property investment market.
To find out more about IPF visit www.ipf.org.uk