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Lendlease names intriguing shortlist for £1.5bn Birmingham Smithfield market job

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Lendlease has revealed an unexpectedly diverse list of practices in the running to design a mixed-use market building at the heart of its £1.5 billion Birmingham Smithfield regeneration

Following an international search, the developer has shortlisted teams, including London’s 5th Studio and Paris-based Moreau Kusunoki Architects, which won the never-realised commission for the Helsinki Guggenheim in 2015. 

The shortlist also features ACME, Shigeru Ban, James Corner Field Operations of High Line fame, David Kohn Architects and engineer to the stars AKT II.

The high-profile contest attracted 75 submissions and interest from global names such as BIG and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. 

Shortlist in full

  • 5th Studio with John O’Mara Architects, Counterculture, New Economic Foundation, The Planning Practice, Donald Hyslop, EMF Landscape and Arup
  • ACME and b720 Fermín Vázquez arquitectos with James Corner Field Operations, ECF Farmsystems, onedotzero, dn&co, AKTII
  • David Kohn Architects, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, Ania Bas, Mark El-khatib, Charcoalblue, Céline Condorelli, Eastside Projects, Price & Myers, Max Fordham
  • Moreau Kusunoki Architects with McGregor Coxall, Arup 
  • Publica with Alejandro Echeverri, Shigeru Ban, Waugh Thistleton Architects, Nigel Dunnett, AKTII, Doshi Levien

The competition, organised by Colander, sought ‘fantastic designers’ for a new canopied trading area and gateway civic square, together with a market with an accessible green roofscape and a ‘workplace building’ rising from four to eight storeys.

The five shortlisted practices will now be invited to attend a ‘mid-tender charrette’ and be interviewed by a judging panel for which AL_A’s Amanda Levete is an adviser. Greig & Stephenson are working client-side with Lendlease as retail consultants.

Speaking at the competition’s launch, Lendlease’s managing director of European property Jonathan Emery said: ‘The markets at Smithfield are very special and we are seeking the very best team to help deliver a truly remarkable outcome. Wonderful and diverse markets exist in many of the great cities around the world. By opening this competition globally, we are inviting talent from around the world to share their experiences and influences.’

The 300,000m² Birmingham Smithfield project – part of the ambitious Big City Plan launched in 2010 – will deliver around 2,000 homes and 3,000 jobs close to Birmingham’s Bullring and New Street Station.

Birmingham City Council named Lendlease as development partner for the 17ha former wholesale markets in November 2018.

Several practices contributed towards the developer’s winning bid, including Hawkins\Brown, Haworth Tompkins, Leonard Design, Alexandra Steed Urban, dRMM, DSDHA, James Corner Field Operations, and Prior + Partners.

The Smithfield market project, planned to complete in 2025, will be one of the first schemes delivered under the masterplan. It will feature fresh produce, clothing, street food, cafés and restaurants.

A future timetable for the competition process is not yet known.

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