Designs for the Mailbox, a new 14-storey office block planned for the city centre of Birmingham, have finally been given the go-ahead by the council’s planning committee, allowing developer Chatham Billingham to begin work on the construction of the new site, which it has been claimed will be “as iconic and distinctive as The Cube or Selfridges building”, which have long been considered among the city’s most important architectural landmarks.

The new office block will occupy the space once home to the print works of Birmingham Post and Mail, located alongside the Lloyd House police HQ on Weaman Street. In order to keep the heritage of the site alive, design inspiration was taken from the location’s history in print, as stated by managing director of Associated Architects Matthew Goer, whose firm is responsible for the design of the development scheme.

“The building's external appearance takes its cue from the print-making history of the site,” says Goer.

“Anodised aluminium cladding panels have been chosen to give the building a crisp, metallic appearance, alluding to the plate printing matrices that can be seen on photographic records of the demolished Printing Works building.

“In addition, the limited colour palette of black, grey and silver represents the appearance of monochrome newsprint.”

An artist's rendering of the completed development   - Img: Associated Architects
Committee member Barry Henley also commented on the design, “This building's design is quirky, interesting and goes with things like The Cube and Selfridges which are interesting to look at.”

Phase 1 of the project, which involved the construction of a 752-space underground car park and 31,600sq ft of office and retail units, was completed in 2015. Phase 2 will see the tower being built immediately above this structure.

The original plan was for the tower to be split equally between office space and apartments, but these plans were thrown out earlier this year in favour of an office-only project more in keeping with the surrounding area, which is predominantly filled with high-density office space.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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