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Birmingham reveals HOK Eastside masterplan

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Birmingham City Council has unveiled its HOK-designed Eastside masterplan. It will take 10 years to complete and result in a staggering £6 billion of investment pouring into the city.

The masterplan covers an area of 40ha - stretching from Masshouse Circus and the Bull Ring to the city's ring road. It will create a new cultural and media quarter and a learning and technology quarter.The project will include a series of commercial mixed-use projects which will account for 50 per cent of the development and 250,000m 2of office space.The plan includes designs for the city's first major urban park since the 19th century, which will be the focus of the area.

The project also outlines the location for Birmingham's new £60 million library, which will be the landmark building of the learning and technology quarter and will be settled by an ongoing competition. The quarter includes Aston University, Aston Science Park and the University of Central England's Technology Innovation Centre. The Matthew Boulton Vocational College will be developed in the area, although the site and architect are yet to be confirmed.The Londonbased Royal College of Organists will relocate to the district and the UCE has also committed to moving the Birmingham Conservatoire to the area.

A media village will be developed at Warwick Bar - an area of historic buildings around disused canal basins and wharves.The cultural and media quarter will be for creative businesses and the arts. A £40 million scheme will result in the development of a 500-person performance venue, recording studios and a new campus focusing on the performing arts. Some 3,500 new homes will be developed around the canal basins and new public squares.

HOK's head of commercial architecture Pierre Baillargeon said:

'Eastside is a unique opportunity to transform a major inner-city core.The aim has been to create a series of new complementary neighbourhoods linked to the adjacent city centre through an extensive pedestrian parkland network.'

He added that the residential, commercial, cultural and educational areas would allow for a number of new landmark buildings which would drive the area's regeneration. The Queen will officially open Millennium Point as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations in June.

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