Our workshop might be considered as a purely academic activity within the Faculty of Architecture, simply involving talented students in an interesting design task, and yet somehow, it was different.
Firstly, the site was extremely challenging because it is a place which has the potential to become the defining landmark of a ‘new Wrocław’ whose hidden values touched our urban designers’ imagination, a place which is a dream about a dream. Secondly, the workshop released incredible enthusiasm and energy, involved creativity and produced a host of original ideas. It demonstrated how important co-operation and participation are in this process.
Thirdly, the workshop triggered public debate about Społeczny Square. The site generated wide ranging interest as the inhabitants of Wroclaw begun to realize that it is ‘their’ place and they are able to influence its future development.
And, last but not least, this modest students’ workshop proved that to ‘do nothing’ is not an option and showed the power of the ‘art of the possible’ in the process of transformation to a new reality.
The RTPI and RIBA West Midland Regions hosted a study tour from Wroclaw Technical
University. A dozen planning and architecture students and two staff had a packed
programme that enabled them to see some of our best and perhaps a few of our not so good
developments. The itinerary speaks for itself but what is more difficult to portray is the interest
and enthusiasm shown by the students. This was no “holiday” but a study tour. The
illustrations are from a book they produced as a thank you.
The week started with a visit to BCU and an introduction to Birmingham’s recent past and
future aspirations: a talk on the Big City Plan was followed by a walk from the university to the
On day 2, Mike Vout and colleagues from Telford and Wrekin gave a fascinating tour
that provided an insight into the ”new town” and contrasted new housing with some ofthe 1970’s estates, the town centre and the World Heritage site in the Ironbridge gorge.
The day ended with a walk around a rainy Shrewsbury.
The third day was a return to Brum and MADE’s offices where public consultation through the work of artists was brilliantly demonstrated with two projects from Solihul and in the Black Country. That afternoon saw further walks, first a look at the canals and then the next piece in the city centre jigsaw – Rob Krzyszowski from Birmingham’s South Development Planning & Regeneration led us from the Library to Brindley Place and the Mailbox via the Cube.
The day ended at the RIBA West Midlands.
Another day and another insight into the West Midlands; this time historic Warwick and Leamington Spa led by Martin Haslett from Warwick District Council.
/// Professional exams: Birmingham City Univerisy
UCL, RIBA North West Region
/// Counter Terrorist Design:
Advice to NaCTSO on design and procurement;
Lecture to Resilience Teams at Birmingham City Council and Worcestershire County Council