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Glenn Howells unveils 20-building £125m Birmingham scheme

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Glenn Howells Architects has drawn up plans for a 320-home mixed-use scheme in Birmingham.

The local practice’s £125 million transformation of the AE Harris site in the West Midland’s city’s Jewellery Quarter would also include almost 1,000m² of office and retail space.

Backed by a development partnership of Galliard Homes and Apsley House Capital, the plans have been submitted to Birmingham City Council.

The scheme consists of 20 buildings of a maximum of five storeys each.

The site, bordered by Newhall Street, Graham Street, Brook Street, James Street and Northwood Street, has been used by AE Harris since 1964. But the engineering firm is set to move to a smaller site in Frankley.

Glenn Howells’ plans include a new pedestrian route from the city centre in to the heart of the Jewellery Quarter. A public space would be created featuring shops, bars and restaurants at street level.

Glenn Howell's plans for the AE Harris site in Birmingham - drawing

Glenn Howell’s plans for the AE Harris site in Birmingham - drawing

Glenn Howell’s plans for the AE Harris site in Birmingham - drawing

Dav Bansal, director at the practice, said: ‘The approach has been to reconnect and unlock this part of the quarter with a sympathetic and granular composition of new streets, courts and buildings that reflect the intense character of the Jewellery Quarter.’

He said the practice proposed to carefully restore some existing building fabric alongside creating a contemporary collection of buildings sharing a contextual palette of materials, detailing and proportions.

Two Grade II-listed buildings – the former Harper’s Hill Works and a neo-Georgian factory on the corner of Newhall Street and James Street – would be preserved under the plans, as would two further structures considered of architectural merit at 123 and 128 Northwood Street.

‘The variety in scale, level changes and order of facades brings an interesting streetscape while the choice of brickwork textures and tones add to the distinct quality of each building,’ said Bansal. ‘We believe this new place respects and in turn celebrates the historical setting, bringing much needed workspace, amenities and homes to the quarter.’ 

The scheme is expected to take five years to deliver.

Glenn Howell's plans for the AE Harris site in Birmingham - masterplan drawing

Glenn Howell’s plans for the AE Harris site in Birmingham - masterplan drawing

Glenn Howell’s plans for the AE Harris site in Birmingham - masterplan drawing

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