“To produce a pastiche of the original buildings would have diminished the originals and diluted their brilliance.

To differentiate between those building elements which contain the living accommodation and those parts which make up the circulation spaces, we have lifted the homes off the ground so that they float as two matt black boxes over the ground floor, which is clad in contrasting red-brown coloured timber. The boxes have then been pulled apart to create an open walkway.

Windows in walls generally appear black or dark grey when viewed during the day. This can help add interest to an elevation, can produce rhythms and movement, but it can also weaken a strong form. In this case we wanted the windows to be as invisible as possible within the overall composition and to blend in with the walls which surround them, so we selected the black zinc as the ideal cladding material. The projecting windows and the cut-out terrace are macro-interventions into the black zinc skin which add further visual interest without eroding the purity of the primary forms. The joints in the zinc material are in a semi-random pattern so that the black floating boxes are given a texture, a relief which helps break down the scale to a smaller module.

The timber by contrast has been used in the parts of the building envelope that will come into contact with the body. An inherently tactile material, the wood makes a fantastic contrast with the more precise, machine-like qualities of the zinc.

The route from the main entrance into the open walkways is filled with visual interest. A combination of light, glimpsed views and beautiful materials will make these spaces a joy to use.”

Prior to the final sales release of apartments at The School Yard, all interested parties are urged to contact selling agent Centrick Property on 0121 347 6116 or email andy.butts@centrickproperty.co.uk to register interest.

Successful local businesses serving their local community will always be at the core of any effort to help the modern High Street survive and thrive.

Over the past two years, during my work at The School Yard, I have come to know many High Street retail shop owners and to relish the fabulous food and drink of ‘The Harborne Mile.’ But the customers who are the food and drink of retailers don’t appear magically overnight. A high street needs to promote itself.

And that’s where the Harborne Business Association, or HBA, can help. It’s becoming a popular association with more and more businesses seeing the value of joining. The HBA has worked hard with our local authority partners to become the recognised voice of business for the area. We are a non-profit organization and our committee members are trustworthy, reliable and professional.

Forging that kind of relationship has enabled the HBA to access grant funding from Birmingham City Council. Part of this funding is going towards an upgrade of the website and a bi-monthly email newsletter to HBA members to help companies keep in touch and promote local events and news.

We are actively looking for more revenue streams. We are also bidding on funds to improve signage for Harborne as well as access to car parking. It’s important to make a high street safe and secure for shoppers and we are getting the Retail Radio system back up and running. We now have control of the system thanks to Cllr John Alden and HBA committee member Elaine Cunningham, of the Harborne Retail Crime Prevention Initiative, and passed us their surplus funds.

For this to really succeed and to grow and attract future investment, we need memberships. This is a great opportunity for the businesses of Harborne to promote their offer – and I would urge people to join. I think it’s fair to say that Harborne hasn’t promoted itself as well as neighbouring suburbs such as Moseley and Kings Heath. It’s time for that to change and the HBA is there to support you and to promote Harborne in the local community and to visitors further afield – all customers that ultimately we rely on for business. 

CONTACT: Mary McGarry (Mulberry Lettings) HBA Membership Secretary T: 0121 426 3951

(Words courtesy of Phil Brown of Harborne, Edgbaston & Moseley Life)