New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

Recycling on a Grand Scale

Posted March 22nd, 2012 by Birmingham Conservation Trust with No Comments

Is it possible to recycle a building?

I guess the answer is yes and in Birmingham we have many examples.  A visit to the Birmingham Back-to-Backs will prove that not only can buildings be saved for the future, they can also be turned into a living, educational and inspiring story.

However, there are buildings that fall into a whole different category.  These buildings have been turned into an amalgamation of old and new.  For some it is the only way forward, for others its an awkward ‘make-do’ situation.

Another Top 5 I hear you say………………..?

(Click on the links for pictures)

1) If (like me) you liked a bit of rock music in the past, you may have ventured to Edwards No. 8 on John Bright Street.  However it burned down (slightly) some years ago only to be reborn recently as offices.  I think the important thing here is that it was saved at all.

2) This particular building falls into the “I think that actually works” category.  The CBSO building retains it’s lovely facade, yet the modern development does tend to offer a blend of old/new.  Does it form some kind of architectural symbiosis?

3) Baskerville House, well you couldn’t get more ‘brummie’ than this.  On the site of the former home of John Baskerville.  A relatively modern building (circa. 1938), however, again I think it works.

4) To balance the “does it work” argument I have included the Orion Building which is situated at the top of John Bright street.  I think this is when ‘facadism’ just goes too far.  The small Victorian facade on the left hand side of the building was engulfed in the main building some years ago. Necessary?

5) Last but not least, the old Drill Hall on Thorpe Street in Birmingham. This building is somewhat stuck in the middle of this argument, being neither one thing or another.  It is ‘functional’ as some would suggest – as a car park………….oh dear!





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