WAN visits Ken Shuttleworth's latest creation
On 29th October, Telegraph writer Nick Britten penned an article which drew ties between the forward facing city of Abu Dhabi and its somewhat unlikely counterpart of Birmingham, UK. Last Friday WAN was invited for a guided tour of the recently completed statement building The Cube, an ambitious mixed use facility regarded as an extension to Associated Architects’ prosperous 2000 redevelopment of The Mailbox.
As you track your way through the residential and industrial side-streets on its boundaries, the shimmering Cube peeks at you through slithers of light between middle of the range apartment blocks and newly constructed high street retailers. Alternatively, you exit The Mailbox – a high end shopping precinct on the outskirts of Birmingham city centre – and it’s upon you, glinting in the hazy afternoon sun (or Great British drizzle as is more often the case).
The work of Make founder Ken Shuttleworth and Project Architect Frances Gannon, The Cube has been five years in the making. It has faced the economical trials of the last half-decade with gall, surviving the administration of its contractor (BuildAbility) and still the interest in commercial space pours in. Having said this, The Cube is certainly the marmite of the UK architecture world. With its large aluminium fretwork, random criss-cross patterned façade and tinted glass crown, the top-end complex is a bold example of 21st century design......more