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Studio Egret West unveils 42ha Birmingham masterplan

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Studio Egret West has unveiled its masterplan for regenerating a post-industrial neighbourhood to the east of Birmingham’s city centre

Glenn Howells Architects and BPN Architects have both worked on buildings for the 42ha Digbeth masterplan, which will see the creation of 1,850 homes and more than 200,000m² of commercial space across a range of sites.

A hybrid application for the scheme has been submitted to Birmingham City Council, with a decision expected from the local authority towards the end of summer.

The scheme will centre around the Custard Factory, which, alongside the neighbouring Bond Company building – a former warehouse – is set to be ‘reimagined’.

The development will also see the River Rea exposed and the Duddeston Viaduct, which was built in 1846 by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, made into a public ‘sky park’.

The first phase of the development will feature Glenn Howells’ three-storey vertical extension to the Custard Factory, with office and rooftop garden space, as well as its 40-home ‘Custard Factory Living’ scheme which ‘follows the rhythmical façade’ of its namesake.

Phase one will also include Studio Egret West’s own Wild Works, a cluster of four buildings rising to eight storeys which will contain office space, ‘communal incubator work space’ and a restaurant.

The development is being brought forward by Oval Real Estate.

Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, described the plans as ‘the type of redevelopment that will allow existing businesses to grow over the long term at the same time as attracting new businesses to our great city.’ 

He added: ‘It is vitally important that the investment we generate through the arrival of HS2 at Curzon Street supports our thriving creative industry in Digbeth.’

Architect’s view

Digbeth today is characterised by its rich and diverse built heritage, including former industrial buildings, impressive infrastructure and distinctive street art, as well as its emerging cultural importance in Birmingham as a creative and industrious neighbourhood. Our framework aims create an employment led mixed use development that enhances the distinctive industrial character of Digbeth, transforms the Duddeston viaduct into a Viaduct Park and improves the setting of the existing waterways to create a sustainable community for Digbeth.

David West, co-founder, Studio Egret West 

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