Birmingham Centenary Sq.
RIBA competition – From Living Room to Play Room, Budget: £10m
Centenary Square contributes significantly to the city’s identity. Nicknamed ‘Birmingham’s Living Room’ the square is dominated by its formal attire, perfect for hosting the city’s public events: a site for the grand, the lavish and the extravagant. On normal days, wind sweeps across the giant block paving carpet. The space struggles to engage the individual, host the intimate or foster the informal.
Our proposal comprises a family of mobile follies and inclined landscape interventions, choreographed around existing assets, acting as catalysts for an active everyday street live. Three principal cross-routes take account of the strategic significance of the square; strung with lights and lined by pavilions. Variously mounted on wheels and tracks, pavilions unfold to offer: bike repair for the rushed commuter; yoga mats for meditation at dawn; coffee for the insomniac urban activist; play furniture for families; film screenings for young and old; event tickets for the cultural enthusiast. Myriad intimate gathering spaces and informal routes unfold within the square.
And come the next event, toys are tidied away, pavilions retracted to the perimeter, performance stage and tiers swung into position.