Smallbrook Queensway Birmingham, UK


CEG on behalf of Dooba Investments II Ltd


Up to 56




City Living

Smallbrook Queensway is a major transformational redevelopment of a key site in Birmingham City Centre.

The site runs over 220m in length, from the Bull Ring Shopping Centre and New Street Station to Holloway Head, following some challenging topography.

At the time Corstorphine & Wright was appointed, a previous scheme for the site existed with an expired planning approval. The client appointed us to revisit the design to open up the site and create a commercially viable proposal. The client’s ambition had grown to realise the potential of the project’s location and for that reason we were tasked with creating a much bigger, landmark scheme than what had previously been explored.

We have identified the existing building as a physical barrier between two vibrant parts of the city. The overarching principle is to create three buildings that are connected through the integration of functional and exciting public spaces, providing access to and from the entertainment district to the South.


A comprehensive re-development has been created seeking to revitalise this part of the city and act as a catalyst for re-generation with great benefits to the economic, social and environmental fabric of the area. It responds to the current needs of the city providing new homes, a mix of active uses at ground levels and extensive new public realm that connects the city securing a sustainable future for Smallbrook Queensway.

The key design drivers for the scheme are:

  • Wider regeneration strategy to help repair the urban fabric and open up the surrounding street network
  • Revitalised public realm with greater scope for green initiatives
  • Retaining the street curvature and memory of past building form
  • Dynamic mix of uses – a cultural mix of leisure, health, wellbeing and commercial uses alongside a strong vertical residential community

We carried out significant urban design analysis and proposals to create an open design that provides linkages from the city centre through to the vibrant areas surrounding the site, including the Theatre zone, Gay Village and Chinese Quarter.


From left to right

From top to bottom

1. Existing massing barrier 2. New access routes punched through 3. Establish a vertical residential community following the curvature of the exiting streetscape

The Proposed Development introduces three buildings to the Site, ranging from 44 to 56 storeys. The trio of towers combine to animate the city skyline with varying heights providing interest and spacing that limits coalescence from key views.

SBQ Datum Podium

The buildings are articulated as towers above podiums. The podium heights have been designed to create an appropriate street scale that responds to the datum defined by the existing building heights on the opposite side of Smallbrook Queensway. SBQ 1 and SBQ 3 share the same architectural approach with SBQ 2 exhibiting differing charectiristics that distinguish it as the focal point of the trio. A consistent shared underlying grid and order to the buildings ensures they read as a ‘family’ of buildings.


A high quality purpose designed rental development focusing on providing housing solutions to Birmingham residents. A well managed, sustainable and inclusive community that supports diverse interests and activities.

The proposals comprise a housing mix of one, two and three bed homes that will help to meet the diverse needs of Birmingham’s residents and support the effective functioning of the local housing market. Being a BTR product, residents will have the flexibility to move within the building either within the same type of unit, or to upgrade downgrade depending on their housing needs.


From left to right

From top to bottom

1. Typical Podium Level 2. Typical Tower Level 3. Typical Apartment Axo

The elevations and façade articulation have been carefully considered. The key principles are to express a simple and elegant form which demonstrates a repeated arrangement, that at different levels highlights a strong horizontal and vertical emphasis. The elevation is framed by integrating a sequence of fins and facetted panels which alternate and capture light in a variety of ways animating the facades.


The redevelopment of the site will support a healthy new, residential led mixed use community with a substantial influx of new residents and visitors contributing to Birmingham’s vision for a 24/7 City Centre.

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