BDP is part of developer PRUPIM’s winning team for Birmingham’s Wholesale Markets which has just been given the go ahead by Birmingham City Council.
The markets, which are the largest composite (horticulture, meat, fish and poultry) wholesale markets in the UK, will relocate from their current site at Digbeth, adjacent to the Bullring, to the preferred new site at The Hub in Witton thus releasing a 21-acre regeneration site in the city centre.
The existing markets owe their success to the huge range of foods traded for the city’s ethnically diverse restaurant culture. The proposed 654,950 sq ft new markets will retain this vibrancy but in a new attractive setting that will increase their their popularity and catchment and add to the relatively small number of global food tourism destinations.
They will be designed by BDP to be not only a functionally efficient, food safe and flexible-future-proofed facility but also a visually iconic structure on the northern approach to the city. The new site will re-house more than 80 wholesale businesses into a new covered market and will augment these with business incubation units to serve new food sector segments and the ever growing public interest in organic produce with low food miles. Food education and health is an important part of the brief and the markets will be a centre for widening the healthy eating agenda in the Midlands.
Passive low energy design and active systems will be reinforced by renewable energy production, partly coming from a food waste to energy plant that will recycle markets’ waste supporting the facility’s wider sustainable credentials.
Dan Smyth, BDP Director of Architecture commented “The new markets will support and enhance the city’s reputation as the UK ‘Capital of Food’, and it will become synonymous with food quality and vibrancy of trade, showcasing our love of food in Birmingham.”