Birmingham Roundhouse, 19th century canal-side stables, to be transformed into a hub to explore the city

Burrell Foley Fischer has been appointed architects for the Roundhouse in Birmingham. The 19th century canal-side stables and stores in the city centre are to be transformed into a hub from which to explore the city by foot, bike or boat. The project is a pioneering partnership between the Canal & River Trust and the National Trust, with vital funding from the National Lottery, to bring an important Birmingham landmark back to life through an innovative blend of heritage and enterprise. 

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The Roundhouse is one of Birmingham's most interesting and iconic buildings. Built in 1874 by the Birmingham Corporation, it was originally used as stables and stores. Designed by local architect W. H. Ward, the horseshoe-shaped building has become a real landmark in the city.

As well as offering a base from which to explore the canal network, plans for the Roundhouse include a café, a cycle hire and repair workshop, volunteering opportunities and a shared working space. It is hoped that it will attract 50,000 people a year, both from the local community and visitors from further afield. The project has been awarded £2.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

BFF has been appointed to develop the designs, which Roundhouse Birmingham had previously secured planning permission for, ready for construction which is anticipated to commence in early 2018.

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Stuart Mills, Property Director for the Canal & River Trust, said: “This project is fantastic news for Birmingham, and will breathe new life into one of the city’s most recognisable and much-loved historic buildings. The Roundhouse will be a fantastic place to showcase Birmingham’s waterways and heritage and inspire people to explore all that the city has to offer.”

Lucy Reid, Assistant Director of Operations at the National Trust, said: “The Roundhouse project is all about partnership and co-creation. The end result will be an inspiring and atmospheric space at the heart of our city’s canal network from which to explore the waterways and the hidden histories of the people who made Birmingham – lamplighters, boatspeople and horses.”