Seeing the Rotunda
being constructed on my father's photo's (especially the New Street Station pictures
) has been
particularly interesting given the building's newsworthiness as
a result of a major refurbishment.
As far as I can tell, the Rotunda was not universally accepted as a
'good thing' when it was opened in 1965. It was like a big
exclamation mark in the sky as if to say, "There you go, Brum, you
really are a modern city now!". But as the years passed it became
accepted as Birmingham's most iconic building. When the
possibility of it being demolished as part of the new Bullring
development was discussed, the city was outraged. Being granted
Grade II listing status ensured it would survive.
As if to emphasise the popularity of the building, people queued
overnight to buy an apartment in October 2005. They all sold out
in less than 3 hours and, soon after, every window in the building had
a blue and white SOLD sign in it! Unfortunately, the sell-out was
almost inevitable given that the developers Urban Splash
had sold 140 of
the 232 flats to Claremont
for £25m a month earlier...
The task of converting an outdated office block into luxury apartments
was not easy. The estimated completion date was early
2008 and the official
was on May 13 2008.
To see what an inspiration the
Rotunda can be, check out Matt Craig's 'Trouble Bruin'
May 2006 - stripping has started
June 2006 - a blank canvas!
October 2006 - new cladding appears
April 2007 - cladding complete
Note the little step in on the top floor - the penthouses
|20th May 2008 - a week after the official
|Ringway Centre - May 2008
A short walk from the Rotunda, Ringway Centre can be
found. Designed by the same architect, James A. Roberts, this
building could be viewed as it's older brother. It tends to
polarise opinion and is not viewed with the same degree of
affection. Personally, I think it is one of the few successful
things to come out of the construction of the Inner Ring Road.
See pictures of it's early days on the Inner Ring Road South and Bull Ring and Inner Ring Road by Leonard Stace