Birmingham’s canals are a central part of the city’s history, and a keystone of their present and future culture. It’s no surprise, therefore, that we were delighted when The Canal & River Trust appointed us to design two unique spaces along the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, which runs from the city centre to Fazeley in Staffordshire.
Exploring the spaces’ heritage was essential, and we thought hard bout how to make them relevant to their present and future communities in a way that drew on the best aspects of that heritage. The project also had a wider context, as part of a city-wide regeneration strategy in the run-up to 2022’s Commonwealth Games.
We began by holding two online events, where we consulted with a selection of stakeholders to inform our designs. The first event was a chance for us to present the project and site analysis, and to gather opinions. We then took these forward, developing design options with the client which we presented at the second event. This meant that stakeholders could comment on the designs as they emerged, giving them far more power to understand and shape the site.
Our design will make the spaces more accessible to the public, so that they can be enjoyed by a wide range of residents, workers and visitors to Birmingham in the years to come. Drawing on the varying aspirations of the community, we united themes of urban ecology, regeneration, heritage protection, public health, public safety, urban design, artwork and lighting – themes which tie into a larger masterplan by the Trust. The result is a cohesive vision which includes high-level costs and a phased approach. Our work has pushed the boundaries of the brief, safeguarding the unique value of these spaces for future generations of Brummies.
“ADP provided a thoroughly professional service, grappling enthusiastically with what is a very challenging area, covering two very different spaces. They were responsibe to the stakeholder groups and generated some really creative and practical ideas that we look forward to trying to implement. ”– Russell Poutlon, Enterprise Manager, Canal & River Trust