18. December 2012 /

Birmingham: First Urban Park for Over a Century

Eastside City Park, Birmingham’s first new park for 130 years, was recently completed. London-based architecture practice Patel Taylor with French landscape architect Allain Provost transformed a city-centre brownfield site, with previous light industrial and commercial uses to a public park. The linear site provides 3.4 hectares of public space. It is a vital part of The Big City Plan and at the heart of the Birmingham’s Eastside regeneration quarter.

The design follows the strategy of making a sequence of defined spaces with a logical yet pleasurable route between them, but with added layering of meaning as these work differently in the lengthwise or traverse directions. The park’s length which extends eastwards from Park Street along the frontage if Millenium Point, on a southeast decline towards the Digbeth Branch Canal, lends itself to a continuous narrative complemented by a canal feature running 188 meters that incorporates 21 jet fountains. Across its shorter dimension, it is more a moment of green in a journey through the city experienced via formal lawns and public squares punctuated by Corten steel.

The planting strategy helps define the urban spaces: large trees differentiate spaces, direct views, and provide shelter and enclosure. This structure is reinforced by planting of a smaller scale that has sufficient variety provide different experiential characteristics throughout the park, creating an unfolding experience of the park, full of discovery and delight.

The park is well served by public transport, and its structure provides clear pedestrian links to the city centre, and accommodates cycle routes and numerous cycle racks. Throughout the design process, there has been close consultation with local communities; stakeholders developing within the Eastside quarter, such as Birmingham City University; and those who will be responsible for the maintenance of the park.

Client: Birmingham City Council
Architects / Landscape architects: Patel Taylor/ Allain Provost   
Engineer: Arup Associates
Contractor: Wates

Images: Timothy Soar

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