Post space to park - Post and Mail redevelopment
The £20m first phase of a £90m redevelopment of former Post and Mail building is well under way. The development, which gained planning approval in 2011, will see the redevelopment of the former printing works, owned by Trinity Mirror, which closed in October 2008 and relocated to the Fort.
Phase 1 will see the shell of the old newspaper building demolished. The existing 70m deep basement will then be converted into a 6-deck, 800 space car park with a two storey building above.The complex basement job will see Balfour sequentially demolish individual existing basement levels to allow concrete to be poured into the area to create the underground car park.
“It’s a complex job because existing floors need to be retained while the car park levels are built from the bottom up,” added the project insider.
The 2011 planning application saw plans for the partial demolition of the works to street level and creation of new levels in the basement for the car park. Phase one has been designed to provide a two-storey based to the future multi-storey phase two above. This base is in two parts, the first floor a solid ground floor with a transparent first floor through virtually continuous glazing to allow the second phase to float above the solid base in similar way to the original 1960s Post and Mail building's tower Parti.
Part detailed application (Phase 1) for redevelopment involving partial demolition of the former Post and Mail printing works to street level, the insertion of new levels into the existing basement to create a new car park for up to 800 spaces, with a new two storey building above for retail restaurant and office uses. Part outline application for Phase 2 comprising multi storey building (minimum height of 170m above ordnance datum up to a maximum of 205m above ordnance datum) above Phase 1 for restaurant, office, hotel, residential and non-residential institution uses.
The printing works building was the only remaining part of the former Post and Mail buildings, designed by John H.D. Madin and Partners, which survived following the demolition of the main block and tower.
The plan is based on the natural flow of newspaper production: at the right-hand end on Colmore Circus, a double-storey advertisement hall with directors' offices above. The entrance hall is at the left hand end of this block, and the tower, comprising mainly lettable offices, rises above. The outstanding dramatic feature of the exterior is the tall open arcade which links the advertisement hall to the editorial office across the front courtyard. To the left of the editorial block is the printing works with a composing room at top, a two-storey publishing area below it, and a machine hall in a deep basement.
The printing works contains a very deep basement and the development is complex as some existing floors are retained while car park levels are built from the bottom up, http://www.jacksons-security.co.uk/News/building-development/balfour-beatty-lands-part-of-90m-contract-for-birmingham-development-2222.aspx.
The printworks is treated deliberately as a quite separate block from the offices, with the simplest of links, perhaps reflecting the method of composition employed by radical Arts and Crafts architects such as W.R. Lethaby whose influence on Birmingham was profound. It is a steel stanchion and beam structure, partly exposed and otherwise clad with white mosaic-clad pre-cast concrete panels.http://www.c20society.org.uk/botm/birmingham-post-and-mail-building/
Indicative images and planning details of the development are shown below, reproduced from the planning application to enable comparison to construction.
Images showing the demolition and construction work are shown below from the 28 March 2013.
Art work on the side of the former print works prior to the demolition work.