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Birmingham Charrette: Sandy Rendel Architects

This group focused on the peripheral spaces of the masterplan

After making a detailed circulation analysis, this group focus on the peripheral spaces of the masterplan, suggesting that they become more outward-looking, aided by the addition of an anchor store on one of the masterplan’s edges. The other big moves are widening the bridge significantly to create a new public space to Centenary Square and adding a new southern plaza with an at-grade pedestrian crossing.

Sandy Rendel with Cassion Castle of Cassion Castle Architects and Peter Laidler of Structure Workshop

Sandy Rendel Architects was founded in 2010. Rendel studied architecture at the University of Cambridge and, since graduating in 1998, has worked for a number of architectural practices in London. He was an associate at Tony Fretton Architects and James Gorst Architects. He has been a visiting tutor in the diploma course at London Metropolitan University and an external design critic at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London Metropolitan University and the University of Cambridge. He has also lectured on construction at the University of Cambridge.

Cassion Castle Architects was founded in 2006. A recently completed project is the Twofold House: a bespoke home and studio for two industrial designers in East London.

Structure Workshop is a structural design engineering firm specialising in art and architecture projects. Work includes Carl Turner Architects’ Manser Medal-winning Slip House.

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Sandy Rendel team approach

We looked at how people move through the site and had a few concerns about the limited amount of connections. The brief mentions Francine Houben’s ‘red line’ that runs from the train station to the library; the issue is that, once you move 20 yards off the red line, you fall onto the road. Also, we felt that the masterplan would benefit from facing out to the surrounding area more. One of the ways of helping address this is enlarging the bridge to Centenary Square, widening it so that it can become a square in its own right, and making slight adjustments to the massing and frontages of buildings. We wanted to differentiate between spaces. There is a homogeneous quality at the moment. We wanted to bring out a sense of difference …compress some spaces and open others up.

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