Today’s Friday photo is the new Golden Square in the Jewellery Quarter.
This is a new public square for locals and visitors alike to relax in, with an open space to hold markets and events. The project is part of the Birmingham Big City Plan with funding from Birmingham City Council, ERDF and Planning Gains. The design was put to a competition, which was won by a team comprising of Capita and Bryant Priest Newman architects along with the artist David Patten and engineers Ramboll. The space is split into three areas, the plaza, the orchard and the promenade, which feature many details that represent the uniqueness of the Jewellery Quarter. These special touches include fruit trees which are supposed to be an echo to the past as prior to the growth of industry the site was rural with small houses and orchards. The Corten steel and smooth gold-anodised aluminium used for the front entrance building, light columns and the promenade walk way is again a nod to the industry of the area. The blue bricks of the plaza are also moulded with a relief pattern of pen nibs, another famous Jewellery Quarter product. The walkway along the plaza also has laser-cut text with words about the quarter.
As a local worker I have watched the project progress over the year or so of building work and I am sorry to say that was a little disappointed with the overall design and feel some of the finishes are not the best quality for the money and time spent, however, no one can deny that the finished project does certainly enliven the area and is nonetheless a welcome addition the Quarter.