High Street Birmingham

Location Birmingham, United Kingdom
Services Building services and structural engineering  and vertical transportation
Sector Retail
Client Wellcome Trust
Architect 3DReid
Imagery © Phillip Handforth


David Walker

T +44 (0)121 262 2720

This tired 1960’s city centre retail complex has been transformed into an exciting multi-use building, providing retail, banking and gym facilities within a revitalised building envelope.

The client’s original brief involved the demolition of the building. This was avoided by Cundall's structural engineers, whose design demonstrated the potential of the existing building by opening the building out, extending upwards and creating a new façade.

These complex structural alterations required a detailed assessment of the structure, since no record drawings were available. Cundall's structural engineers scoped and coordinated an extensive, intrusive site investigation, interpreting the results and designing any necessary strengthening or supporting structures. Advanced 3D finite element analysis techniques were used to assess the load capacity and vibration characteristics of the existing slabs.

The entire façade, complete with canopy and attached high-level roof, was removed and replaced with an angled ‘swinging box’ feature at high level, above the bolt glass-glazed ground and first floors. Tight tolerances and the complexity of the proposals resulted in a solution that suspended the feature from the upper-most roof level. Cundall worked closely with the architect and glazing suppliers to arrive at a solution that concealed the framing and maintained the floating appearance true to the original concept.

Cundall's building services team provided schematic designs for the provision of landlord-installed systems and sufficient riser capacity and distribution zones, and provided advice and guidance to the client on the necessary provision for lift shafts in the various parts of the building.

  • IStructE Midlands Counties Awards, 2011, Commercial category, Winner