Publicly Accessible Buildings

Time to square off

RIBA launches international design competition for regeneration of Centenary Square

by Sian 20 October 2014

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Landscape Institute on behalf of Birmingham City Council have launched a competition offering architects and designs to play a key role in the regeneration of Centenary Square, one of Birmingham's largest public spaces.

Following the successful completion of the Library of Birmingham (shortlisted for the Stirling Prize 2014 and designed by architects Mecanoo) and the planned changes around the edges of Centenary Square, the time is now right to regenerate this important space into a cultural hub and desirable square for the city, RIBA said on Monday.

"Centenary Square is one of Birmingham's most important public spaces and home to some of the city's landmark buildings," said Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, adding that the competition would provide designers and Birmingham City Council with "a once in a lifetime opportunity" to shape the space.

The council hopes it will become a space accessible to both residents and visitors, promoting the square as a place for people to relax and socialise on a more informal basis in addition to the organised events already held there.

The competition is open to registered architects, landscape architects, urban designers and students of these disciplines worldwide.

Stage one of the competition will require digital submissions only, with five concept designs then being shortlisted for further development at the second stage. The closing date for receiving first stage entries is 2 December by 2pm. Entry details can be found here. Each shortlisted designer will receive an honorarium of £5,000 + VAT and be invited to present their designs for public consultation and then to the judging panel in March 2015. 

The square was named in 1989 to mark the centenary of Birmingham achieving city status in 1889. It is home to a number of key buildings, including the Library of Birmingham, the Old Rep Theatre, the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall, as well as a variety of statues and sculptures.

Plans for the square include an extension of the Midland Metro and improvements to road layouts, with the aim of making the space accessible to all Birmingham residents and visitors.

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