Centenary Square design competition winner revealed

Gail Taylor
Monday 22 Jun 2015

‘Hall of Columns’ to light up Birmingham’s city centre as part of its ongoing regeneration

The winner of a competition to transform one of the largest public spaces in the UK’s second city, Birmingham, has been named as Edinburgh-based Graeme Massie Architects. 

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, launched by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Landscape Institute on behalf of Birmingham City Council, attracted nearly 200 entries from architects and designers around the world, all vying to make their mark on the city by redesigning Centenary Square.

Graeme Massie Architects’ winning design was selected from a shortlist of just five by a panel of judges, which included Birmingham City Council Deputy Leader Cllr Ian Ward. Judges were particularly impressed with the winning scheme, known as the Hall of Columns, for many reasons, including:

  • the lighting columns, which will provide a unique and iconic image for Birmingham;
  • the fact the scheme is multi-dimensional, incorporating trees, seating and water with a ceiling of lights which can be appreciated not just from the square but from the terrace of the Library and the higher floors of surrounding buildings too;
  • the ‘timeless simplicity’ of the design which also offers the flexibility for the location to be used for a wide range of events in the long-term;
  • the design fits in well with the existing and planned developments in the area;
  • the design complements the history of the square as well as providing an iconic design for the future.

Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council commented that the very high standard of the entries had made the judges’ job ‘extremely difficult’, but went on to conclude: “We believe the winning scheme offers something different for Birmingham and will reshape Centenary Square into an important public space where people can stop, relax and socialise, rather than simply passing through, as well as coming together to enjoy a diverse calendar of events.”

The RIBA Competitions service has been involved in a number of competitions in Birmingham - The Library, New Street Station and now Centenary Square - and can provide a valuable alternative design option for clients.  

The Centenary Square design competition was posted by WAN’s Business Information project lead service in October 2014. The full competition brief can be found here.  

Gail Taylor

Key Facts:

United Kingdom
LIghting Design Urban design

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