Thursday, 26 February 2015

The second year BSc students went to Birmingham...

The second year students on the BSc Real Estate Management went on a field trip to Birmingham (England's second city?) for a series of presentations on the development of the city given by Craig Rowbottom, Senior Planning Office for Birmingham Planning Department and Carl Potter, Senior Director at GVA Birmingham, and two walking tours of the sites on which their coursework would be based. The students were provided with a series of questions about the sites to start them thinking...

The walking tours are detailed below with links to the development sites:

Walking Tour 1
Curzon Street - the planned location for the HS2 Curzon Station, and also home to Millennium Point, the Birmingham Science Museum, City Park and the Old Curzon Street Post Office.
Fazeley Street - part of the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone including the Typhoo Wharf, Fazeley Studios and the Custard Factory.
Heath Mill Lane...

The crushed car wall on Heath Mill Lane - photo courtesy of

...and onto Digbeth High  Street, home of the old Birds Custard Factory.

Walking Tour 2
The Bull Ring - an important feature of Birimngham since the Middle Ages when a market was first held there. Now a major commercial centre and home to the Bullring shopping centre (redeveloped in 2003).
New Street Station - which is undergoing a massive redevelopment and onto Victoria Square, home to the Council House, the Town Hall and a rather magnificent piece of artwork (The River) known locally as 'the Floozie in the Jacuzzi'.
Chamberlain Square - which is undergoing major redevelopment (check the link for details) which links to Centenary Square, also about to be redeveloped (following a RIBA design competition) and the site of the new Library.

Birmingham's new Central Library - image courtesy of

Brindley Place and Gas Street Basin were next on the tour - the heart of the UK's canal network and now home to a large mixed use development built on derelict land surrounding the canals and Gas Street Basin.
The Cube, Birmingham's iconic landmark was next and then a walk along the canal taking in the canal-side housing developments to The Mailbox - a redevelopment of the old Royal Mail sorting office and now one of the UK's largest mixed use buildings.

The students got back on the coach for a brief tour of the Jewellery Quarter - where The Prince's Foundation has worked closely with Birmingham City Council and Advantage West Midlands to regenerate the area as a mixed, sustainable and inclusive urban village. And a visit to the Urban Splash development at Fort Dunlop. Fort Dunlop is now a stunning office building which boasts a number of amazing and innovative features (such as a green roof), but when it first opened in 1917 it was the biggest factory in the world and it manufactured solid tyres for lorries. In the 1970s it was still the largest tyre factory outside of the USA, but with the increase in imported cars, large scale tyre production ceased in the 1980s. In 1999, Urban Splash acquired the building and surrounding land and breathed new life into the old buildings. Have a look at the Urban Splash website for the full story and some great images of the development.

So what do the students have to do with all the information they have collected? They have to suggest key design principles for the planned HS2 Curzon Station which they will present using a poster and face-to-face presentations to peers and staff. And also design a canal-side development scheme for the site known as Typhoo Basin (the old Typhoo Tea Warehouse on the Digbeth branch canal). They will be asked to present their proposals using a 3D SketchUp model embedded into a three minute marketing video.

For more information on the BSc Real Estate Management, take a look at our website.

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