Eastside Story Unfolds

Eastside QuartereMag logo 100x75After the focus on the new Library of Birmingham and the half-time opening of the Gateway New Street Station, attention is now drawn to Eastside regeneration and the HS2 Station.

Eastside City Park

OD4A0451I have previously produced a short article on this when it opened in December 2012. It runs for 550 metres with Curzon Street on one side and Millennium Point on the other. Tidying up of the adjacent area to the west of the old Curzon Street Station building has taken place since and now the views from the park are not spoiled by wasteland.

This linear park now consists of four distinct areas. Moving from west to east there are formal lawns with shrubs and benches, a large paved public square, a Science Garden – a great place to show children some interesting phenomena – and a 188metre lawn running alongside Millennium Point with canal feature and 21 jet fountains and separated from Curzon Street by a paved walkway with pagolas and benches. All in all a very pleasant place to wander through and linger awhile with a picnic in clement weather.

(Click here to find out how to get the best out of the photos.)

Curzon HS2 Masterplan

On 26 February the Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan was revealed to the Birmingham Post. It will be one of the biggest urban regeneration schemes in Britain, covering 141 hectares of the city centre. I will report on this in the near future when I manage to get a copy of the plan.

Birmingham City University

Meanwhile Birmingham City University’s move to Eastside is happening at a pace. Millennium Point has housed a number of departments of the university for several years – Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment (TEE), and Birmingham School of Acting. In addition a major expansion of the university is taking place in the Eastside Quarter.

Phase 1 was completed in 2013.

Parkside Building

Parkside Building

Named Parkside Building it is now operational and was officially opened by Michael Heseltine on 4 March 2014. It is home to Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD) and Birmingham School of Media. It has a raised bridge link connecting it to Millennium Point. b c d

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.Phase 2 construction officially commenced  in August 2013 and is well underway, well, the steel skeleton and concrete floors are up to floor 4. This consists of a building unconnected to the rest of the university. It occupies the space from Cardigan Street where the Parkside Building ends up to the Ashted Locks of the Digbeth Branch Canal.

Included in the project will be the refurbishment of the Grade 2 listed Eagle and Ball public House. This will provide a student support hub as well as a new library, teaching and IT space, plus other student-facing facilities, eg the Students’ Union.

Teaching activities in the building will begin in September 2015.

Watch a fly through of the building. Watch a live webcam of the construction.

A map of the area (Plot 35 is Phase 1)…
(Image by Associated Architects)Location and Layout from Page 12 of the Design and Acess Statement

Click thumbnail to view a pictorial progress record of the construction. I will be updating this in future articles.
City Locks phase, also known as No 1 Eastside, had its full planning application submitted on 2 January 2014 and a decision is to be taken by the Planning Committee on this on 20 March 2014. It will be situated across the canal from Phase 2 alongside Locks 4 and 5.

It will provide sophisticated student accommodation with 625 bedrooms and social areas. Also included are four small business incubation/start-up units and a small retail unit for a shop or convenience food store.

Much will be made of the canal side location which will receive a makeover – so badly needed – and provide improved public spaces giving attractive links for pedestrians and cyclists.

Completion date is Summer 2016.

An artist’s impression of an aerial view…
(Image by Alumno Developments Ltd)

Aerial view from above Curzon Street

Click thumbnail   to view a pictorial progress record of the construction. I will be updating this in future articles.

University life has changed so much for the better since I attended Birmingham University. In those days accommodation was in non-too-tasteful digs usually some distance from the university.

Geoff Caine

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