The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Click to see full size Photos © Wilson Yau
Atrium Photo © Wilson Yau
Exterior Photo © Wilson Yau
Interior Photo © Wilson Yau

100 Buildings 100 Years

2003: Selfridges, Birmingham

Status: Unlisted
Condition: Good condition
Type: Commercial/offices
Architect: Future Systems (Jan Kaplický and Amanda Levete)
Owners: Selfridge & Co.
Location: The Bullring, Upper Mall East, Birmingham B5 4BP

Birmingham’s architecture is eclectic and most Brummies accept the randomness of the buildings around them as the norm. Selfridges, bulging out of the city’s Bullring shopping centre, appears a bit like a fly’s compound eye thanks to the thousands of aluminium discs on its facade. Selfridges looks like nothing else and celebrates the constant ambition of Brummies to reinvent their city; an optmistic symbol of Birmingham’s recent regeneration.
The department store replaced a multistorey car park of an uninspiring quality. I remember how, below the car park, there was a decaying warren of pedestrian subways and shop units, which briefly in the 1980s formed a proto-Chinatown made up of several Chinese businesses: one was a resturant run by my grandparents. In its place, I’m happy to see that Future Systems have created a memorable building that looks certain to outlast the timid and mundane shopping centre around it.
by Wilson Yau
Wikipedia: Selfridges Building

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