Birmingham citizens are fighting to save an iconic brutalist building

The Ringway Centre is set to be replaced by three residential skyscrapers, but many believe this is not the right way to revitalize the area.

In February this year, the Birmingham City Council approved the plan to demolish the Ringway Centre – a ribbon Brutalist building completed in the early 1960s on Smallbrook Queensway, at the heart of the British city – to make way for three new residential towers up to 54 stories high. However, citizens immediately rallied to save the building by James Roberts and Sydney Greenwood, considering it “an irreplaceable piece of [the city’s] history”, the backdrop for countless pictures including those taken of Clint Eastwood visiting the city in 1967.

The Save Smallbrook movement – which includes organizations such as the Birmingham Modernist Society alongside Brutiful Birmingham – applied for a judicial review at the High Court on May 2, asking for the building to be preserved and repurposed, perhaps retaining the existing structure and revitalizing the ground floor with commercial activities, as suggested by Professor Michael Dring, a lecturer in architecture at Birmingham City University. To fund the legal challenge, a crowdfunding campaign was recently launched and has already raised more than £2,500 of the £15,000 needed.

Opening image: Wikimedia Commons.

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