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Old June 15th, 2005, 02:00 AM   #81
birminghamculture
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P.S Masshouse is being under-rated, It will be a great addition to some well needed Grade A office space in the city center - Check the video out, it looks really nice to me.

www.masshouse.co.uk
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Old June 15th, 2005, 04:45 AM   #82
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not decided yey, but the old buildings at the site would look great with a bit of care. Perfect for a small mall like no other!
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Old June 15th, 2005, 04:36 PM   #83
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Considering this thread is about The Cube it is the only building here that I'm not that keen on. I think it's just the patterning on the building but it makes the render look pixleated. Like you said we won't get a real feel for it until it is u/c and it will be interesting to see what else MAKE come up with. Arena Central reminds me off Commerzbank, Frankfurt, but after just looking it up, Arena Central is different but the general shape is similar.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 06:02 PM   #84
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Well I likes it anyway

Depends what it's made of as to how good it'll be, like anything else. £60m should see some decent materials.

What gives me hope though is this was chosen from a design competition with five other architects. The fellows making the decision will have seen a lot more of this building than one unclear rendering, which says to me that it's a lot better than it looks to us. Though I like it as it is, as long as they use proper materials and not cheap plasticcy crap.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 08:35 PM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Britannia
That would be exciting if they can pull it off, and I'd love to see a building that was so colourful but also worked so well as an object and a destination (which is what, after all, it is aiming to be). I just can't use any amount of fancy language to get away from the fact that it looks like a big flat brick! It's huge! I don't see how they'll work in any grace or joy, because whatever they do it'll always have a tendency to look like mutton dressed as lamb. No amount of window dressing or clever architectural trickery can disguise such stark proportions.
Well it's squat and expansive rather than slender and soaring, certainly - there's no point denying the obvious - but I'm not sure they're trying to use architectural trickery to hide the fact. It certainly doesn't seem to look like it ought to be three times the height in the way that, say, Peterborough Court on Fleet Street does - the design and the shape seem to go hand in hand quite comfortably. It doesn't seem to speak the language of towers at all, IMO, I still think it's closest relative is the V&A Spiral.

The area immediately to its north is taken up mainly by water and the back of the existing Mailbox as well, so it's shadowing effects on neighbouring buildings might be less than you might expect.

(You've got me worried about Kings Reach Tower now, though - could the problem be the contrast between the vivid fins and the fairly neutral cladding itself - making the fins look a bit 'stuck on'? That's a horribly prominent site if it does go wrong...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Britannia
I don't know. I'll say this and know I'll get shot down, but I truly do believe it... I don't think Birmingham has the knowledge or quality standards that Manchester does. Leeds has a similar problem, as does Sheffield. The current schemes going up in Birmingham, with the exception of Beetham and a couple of other select projects (i.e. the new library and City Park Gate), smack of a city so desperate for regeneration that they'll accept anything. I don't think Birmingham should be in that position... I believe it's relatively economically and culturally prosperous, and the raw ingredients are certainly all there... but the city as an entity just doesn't seem to gel, and as a result the standard of design for new buildings in the city is fairly poor. Manchester, by comparison, has a very clear quality control process, which both architects and developers seem to respect. Whatever it is, it produces quality buildings and regeneration schemes, which Birmingham doesn't. Maybe a question for those with more knoweldge of the city, but I see the same disparity in London boroughs. Even working under the same strategic framework, there is huge divergence in the quality produced within different boroughs. Ambition plays a part, but so possibly do resources and knowledge. Some councils simply lack an appreciation and understanding for the design process, so they're unable to demand high quality. Obviously Birmingham has Brindleyplace to hold up and say 'what about this?', but maybe that's the difference of a conscientious developer... maybe the point is that in Birmingham, if the developer doesn't care, they can get away with it.
No I think you're absolutely right about that. It's always been a mystery to me how Birmingham City Council got their reputation as proponents of quality architecture eg Les Sparks becoming a CABE Commissioner. To my eyes they have an exceptional record over several decades in promoting good urban planning, but don't seem to have a clue what an individual building design of international quality looks like, still less a systematic and effective policy for encouraging them (and why should Birmingham have to settle for anything less?). On the contrary, they seem to have developed a very unimaginative box-ticking approach that tends to actively encourage mediocrity. Even Brindley Place is only a partial exception to this: very few of the buildings would look anything special on their own, its excellence lies in the way they are masterplanned to work together to make a coherent and urbane whole.

(Masshouse doesn't even work on this level IMO though - the masterplan solves so many non-existant problems and misreads the urban context so spectacularly you wonder if anyone from Cullinan's actually set foot in the city)

I remember in the 80s getting worked up as they developed their enormous "City Centre Design Strategy" - There's no point knocking up a giant complex ******* strategy unless you start off by getting some decent ******* architects to design your ******* buildings.

Manchester's architectural step-change over the last decade hasn't been entirely council-driven, though. A lot of it originated with enlightened developers like Urban Splash appreciating the business case for using top-quality architects to make developments in grim areas appear aspirational, and quite a lot has come from the influence Simpson grew to have with the council after he won the post-bomb masterplanning competition. It's been at least as much bottom up as top down.

Interestingly, the impetus for the project that has become The Cube doesn't seem to have come from the council at all - the driving force seems to be the developers themselves (there's a couple of interesting articles on the subject here http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/...name_page.html and here http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/...name_page.html), so hopefully, if the proposal gets past the council, there should be the commitment to deliver a high quality end product. Fingers crossed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Britannia
It surprised me to find out that there'd been a general schism when Shuttleworth left, when there was basically a decision to go with him or to go somewhere else. Quite a large contingent went to Hamiltons. Maybe it was an ideological split!
I'm not sure I rate the more commercially oriented end of Foster+Ps though, which is presumably the direction the Hamilton Associates people came from. When they're playing their "cutting edge" game and firing on all cylinders then Fosters can still be a force to be reckoned with (eg Sage), but give me a good Sheppard Robson building over a bottom-end Foster any day.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 10:28 PM   #86
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Another article describing the building and images

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/forumdisplay.php?f=336
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Old June 18th, 2005, 11:00 PM   #87
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I went to the exhibition today to view the proposals. Here's what I saw:

Associated Architects:


Someone else:


Another one:


Cubey boy:



The Tower:


The other one:


i thought the cube was the best after looking at it more. There's a good flythrough at the exhibition which showed how it'll work better than pictures can really. Looks alright though. I reckon it'll turn out for the good.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 05:43 PM   #88
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Some really interesting ideas. I prefer the others over the Cube. I just don't like it's shape or porportions. The others however, are good from an aesthetic point of view, if a bit vague in couple of cases.

PS the tall, looks a bit like the renders of the Crown Building in Manchester,
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Old June 19th, 2005, 09:39 PM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManchesterISwonderful
PS the tall, looks a bit like the renders of the Crown Building in Manchester,
I thought that as well.

I think folk'll have to have a longer look at better pictures of the Cube before it's fully udnerstood. As I say the flythrough makes it look very interesting. It seems sort of open. like the MAilbox itself, if you've ever been there. I still don't know whether it's outdoors or indoors, and I like that
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Old June 20th, 2005, 03:27 PM   #90
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Birmigham has a reputation for repeatedly runining itself with 'innovative gems'. Take the inner ring road, the old bullring shopping centre, new street station... all considered fantastic, daring and representative of Birminghams courageous and daring spirit... and all blighted the city for years after they were no longer fashionable.

Buildings need to be built to last, rather than just allowing an architect to throw his 'brilliance' at the established grain of a place for momentary excitement and novelty. like Ive said before, a moment being cutting edge, but years getting blunter.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 07:30 PM   #91
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totally agree.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 03:51 PM   #92
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the cube is gorgeous, everything else in the first post is ugly though
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