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Make to revamp listed former bank for University of Birmingham

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Make Architects has won the go-ahead for a major overhaul of a Grade II-listed former bank to create co-working and exhibition space for the University of Birmingham

The AJ100 practice received the green light from Birmingham City Council’s planning committee for its revamp of Thomas Cecil Howitt’s 1930s Municipal Bank at 301 Broad Street.

The scheme will remove the vacant building’s south elevation and a single-storey lean-to before adding a new extension and roof canopy. A rooflight will be removed and replaced by one at a higher level.

Working, meeting and breakout facilities will be spread across three floors, with a studio and gallery in the basement and an external plant zone on the roof.

Planning officers recommended approval of the planning and listed building applications, saying the scheme would create ‘a gateway development’ serving staff, students and the general public. Make has worked on the project with heritage experts at Donald Insall Associates, and it is expected that work could begin on site next year. 

The Municipal Bank was conceived by former Birmingham lord mayor and later wartime prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, whose father Joseph Chamberlain founded the University of Birmingham.

Make municipal bank plan

Make municipal bank plan


The university’s vice-chancellor, David Eastwood, said when the plans were first revealed in November 2016: ‘We are bringing this historic landmark back into use for the people of Birmingham, providing a new public gateway to the university’s research and cultural assets.

‘The decision reflects the university’s commitment to playing an active role in the development of the city and to the sharing of research and knowledge beyond campus boundaries.’

The project forms part of the wider redevelopment around Centenary Square which itself is being regenerated by Graeme Massie Architects.

Make municipal bank site plan

Make municipal bank site plan

Site plan

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