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To: Birmingham City Council

Preserve Smallbrook Queensway’s 1960s style

There are plans to completely change the distinctive curved office block on Smallbrook Queensway in central Birmingham.

We call on the Council to preserve its original architectural features and reject this damaging redevelopment.

Why is this important?

The building was designed in the early 1960s by local architect James Roberts and is considered by experts to be among the best of mid-Twentieth Century urban design in Birmingham:

"Its curvature, rhythm of vertical fins, together with its characteristic projecting concrete uplighters, make it still the most impressive piece of modern streetscape in the city, even 54 years after its completion.”
Architect and urban planner, Joe Holyoak

Roberts is responsible for Birmingham's most famous building, the iconic Rotunda, which has been both listed and sensitively redeveloped in recent years.

But at present there are no such intentions for Smallbrook Queensway, despite it being of similar cultural value to the city.

Instead the owner, Commercial Estates Group, wants to replace the concrete panels with cladding and glass, add two extra floors on top and replace the section over Hurst Street with a 22-storey office block.

The proposed redevelopment would result in the loss of yet another fine example of Birmingham’s postwar heritage, which, we are warned, would be:

“...especially crass at a time when the singular merits of 1960s architecture are at last being widely acknowledged.”
Author and film-maker, Jonathan Meades

Furthermore, the site does not fall within the Council’s tall building zone, meaning a high-rise block should, in theory, be discouraged.

We therefore call upon the City Council to reject CEG's current proposals and urge the developer to draw up an alternative plan that respects and enhances the original features of the building.

Here's a link to the article by Joe Holyoak, which features a CGI image of the new proposal:

Thank you for your support!

Please follow BRUTIFUL’s campaign to save the best of Birmingham’s threatened C20 heritage on Facebook and Twitter:

Photo credit: 'photo by D.J. Norton'. More great archive pictures at:

Birmingham, United Kingdom

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2023-07-21 13:27:33 +0100

500 signatures reached

2016-06-17 22:28:30 +0100

100 signatures reached

2016-05-29 11:26:58 +0100

50 signatures reached

2016-05-28 20:52:25 +0100

25 signatures reached

2016-05-28 16:24:54 +0100

10 signatures reached