Shortlist announced for Centenary Square design competition

By on 13/01/2015 in Deputy Leader, News

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Landscape Institute on behalf of Birmingham City Council are pleased to announce the shortlist in the international open design competition to redesign Birmingham’s Centenary Square.

A total of 185 entries were received from across the world and judged anonymously during several days of assessment.

Five shortlisted schemes were agreed by the judging panel and the finalists subsequently revealed as:

  • Atkins, Birmingham
  • Barton Willmore, Reading
  • Broadway Malyan, Birmingham
  • Graeme Massie Architects, Edinburgh
  • Open Studio Architects with United Visual Artists, London

The panel were delighted that two Birmingham practices had managed to reach the shortlist despite the large number of entries from across the globe.

The five shortlisted teams will now develop their initial concepts and their schemes will then go on public display in Birmingham in May before the final judging by the panel in June 2015.

Sasha Bhavan, of Knox Bhavan Architects, RIBA adviser, said: “We were impressed with the number and calibre of entries. From 185 entries covering 30 countries, anonymous judging and a broad spectrum of submissions made it almost impossible to shortlist just five; all of whom should be absolutely delighted.

“It was the impressive analysis and empathy with the site and city which probably resulted in an all UK shortlist, two of which are Birmingham practices. We are looking forward to being surprised and delighted with the developing next stage of the competition. This is a tremendous opportunity for the shortlisted five and Birmingham to show how innovative thoughtful design can transform a major public civic space.”

Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council and a member of the judging panel, said: “As anticipated, this competition attracted some truly exceptional entries from across the world, making it all the more difficult to select just five for the shortlist.

“Although judging was done anonymously, I am delighted that two Birmingham practices have made the shortlist, seeing off fierce competition from a wide range of international entries.

“This competition demonstrates that Birmingham is not afraid to embrace innovative and unusual ideas and I now look forward to the next stage of the competition when we will choose a winning design truly fitting of a world class city.â€

Chris Webster, board director for Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), responsible for optimising assets and Enterprise Zone champion, said: “It is great that this competition has proved so popular and attracted interest from leading architects and designers, not only in the UK but also from across the globe, underlining Birmingham’s position as city of interest on the world stage.

“Funding for this important and exciting project is being provided via the GBSLEP’s £275 million Enterprise Zone investment plan.  This has been designed to support development and public realm improvements within Birmingham city centre and the wider LEP region in order to drive economic growth.

“We believe the project will provide a fantastic opportunity for the ultimate winner when it is announced. Our ambitions for Centenary Square are to create an attractive environment in line with the LEP’s goals to improve the quality of life for the people who live and work here and provide an inspirational and aspirational place to attract inward investment and tourism.â€

This Birmingham City Council project is managed by the Planning and Regeneration Department as part of the Big City Plan. Technical support is provided by Acivico, Birmingham City Council-owned construction services practice, and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).


Notes to Editors:

Visuals of the five shortlisted designs are available to download from the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr feed here.

RIBA Competitions

Please ensure RIBA Competitions is credited when mentioning the above competition.  RIBA Competitions delivers choice, inspiration and value to clients through expertly run competitive selection processes.  The dedicated RIBA Competitions team can help you explore the full potential of your project, for further information visit or email

Centenary Square

Named in 1989 to mark the centenary of Birmingham achieving city status in 1889, Centenary Square is home to a number of key buildings, including the Library of Birmingham, the Old Rep Theatre, the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall, as well as a variety of statues and sculptures. Plans for the square include an extension of the Midland Metro and improvements to road layouts, with the aim of making the space accessible to all Birmingham residents and visitors. This forms part of the Enterprise Zone Investment Plan, supporting growth and investment in the city centre.

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