John Lewis

2011/02869/PA

Construction of a new A1 department store including ancillary customer facilities (including customer cafes and restaurants and other customer services) set over four floors, and the construction of two A3 retail units at concourse level, three A1 retail units at hinterland (ground floor) level and three A1 retail units at the lower retail level. The proposed development also includes: demolition work to facilitate construction, provision of drop-off and pick-up areas, extension of the public concourse with a reconfigured access lift and ramp and extension to the public NCP car park on the roof level and ancillary services and facilities. 

Work on the John Lewis store is well underway and it is due to be launched in Autumn 2014 in conjunction with the rebranding of the Pallasades as Grand Central.

As the planning statement indicates they have demolished Stephenson Tower [Youtube] and this project is part of the wider New Street Gateway project.  

Below is the view from Hill Street, the steps that can be seen to the right of the road are currently in place, and form the present exit out of the Phase I redevelopment of the station towards Southside.

In the southern elevation pictures the taxi rank can be made out, which is planned to have space for 32 taxis to be queued at.

In the planning application there are details about the glazing that may be used, which can be seen in the renders and the close up detailing can be seen below.

This specific pattern is currently proposed as a screen print to the sealed inside faces of the double glazing. The gap between the patterns will enable two distinct perceptions of the building depending on how close the viewer is to the glazed facade (see Fig 4t):

• When viewed from a distance, the resultant envelope of the department store is a translucent, shimmering veil that allows for partial views into the department store and the partial penetration of light and view out of the department store while maintaining flexibility for the interior displays.

• When viewed close up internally from the sales floor the diamond pattern emerges providing the glass facade a distinctive and crystalline appearance recalling the many silver and glass etched surfaces included in the early JLP catalogues.

Construction Pictures
28 May 2013

Interconnect Birmingham – City Mapping & Wayfinding

Those familiar with London will have seen a consistent signage brand throughout the city to help locals and visitors alike find their way. This was initiated by a study back in 2006 that TFL commisioned called Legible London [PDF] which aimed to make London easier to navigate for pedestrians.

Though it is not just London that cares about pedestrians, in Birmingham it has been identified that visitors’ navigation needs improving:

Interconnect Birmingham is a project to improve visitors’ navigation of the city – from initial web visit, through maps and on-street orientation and signage; it will ensure visitors have the best possible experience of the city. The project is a key part of the Big City Plan. [Birmingham Toolkit]

Interconnect Birmingham, a £3 Million project, it is mentioned in the Big City Plan, and also is seen in the Vision for Movement for making Birmingham a walkable city.  The contract for the first phase of the work was put out to tender, which City ID won.  They are experts within the field, and show that Birmingham is really looking to achieve a high quality output.

The first phase of work will focus on improving orientation with improved street mapping and interpretation to help people locate their destination and create better mental maps of the city.  It will help them to link different areas of the city and integrate their journeys. [Marketing Birmingham]

City ID - Promotional Image - Interconnect Birmingham

To achieve the above the above:

  1. A map of Birmingham was required, and
  2. A mechanism to deliver the maps (such as monoliths, totems, signs).

As a basis for the work a royalty free map was created by Bluesky, which cost £86,765 [FOI Request, Word Document].  This map was then corroborated by City ID with on-street research.  With the aim being to design a map which blended detailed urban structures with simplified road networks; putting the pedestrian first. [Yellowfields Blog].

The map above is an indicative image based on the work by one of the City ID consulltants who mentions that the final colouring and other detailing is subject to change.  More recently a new public transport map of Birmingham [PDF] has been released which uses this style, and gives a good indicator of what to expect in our wayfinding maps.

In total there will be 24 wayfinding totems installed in the next fortnight which make up Phase 1 of the delivery, and they will be placed within the City Core.  These totems will look similar to the new bus signage which contains public transit information, and be the first step to making it Birmingham an easier city to navigate.

Thought it is not just about making it easier for people to navigate across the city core, and these wayfinding totems will appear in the Jewellery Quarter, Eastside & Digbeth as part of Phase 2.  This is currently in the preparation stage, so it will be a little while before we see them appearing on the street.

Overall it looks like Birmingham is set to deliver a great initiative, that has been in gestation for a while (back as far as 2007).

Update (Tuesday 25 September 2012):
It appears that one of the large monolith signs installed on Colmore Row for the Snow Hill Interchange has incorrect artwork.  The photo below is taken looking towards Snow Hill with the Cathedral on the right hand side.

Interconnect Birmingham Incorrect Snow Hill MonolithThe wayfinding map is orientated the correct way, though the signposting area at the top is incorrect. The Interconnect Birmingham team have been notified of this, and have informed us that the sign will be fixed as a matter of priority.

Update (Monday 15 October 2012):
The totems are appearing across the city centre, and this post has been updated to show them.