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A Canalside Community

Port Loop is a thriving new canalside neighbourhood taking root just 15 minutes walk from Birmingham city centre.

Building a new urbanism

With a 1km arc of historic canal at its heart, this major piece of city-making is being delivered in collaboration with Places for People, Urban Splash, Birmingham City Council and the Canal & River Trust.

Our challenge at Port Loop was how to transform an ex-light industrial cul-de-sac of 43-acres into a living and breathing part of post-industrial Birmingham, with people taking centre stage. Informed by the bold social ambition of the best of 19th century urban planning, our masterplan envisions the inner-city neighbourhood of the future—a walkable and permeable city district where the knowledge economy, recreational green and blue space and family life coexist alongside built heritage dating from England’s industrial revolution.

  • View of the brownfield site

    The ex-industrial site is surrounded by a kilometre of canal

  • Masterplan diagram


  • Historic canalside context

    Historic canalside context

  • Historic canalside context

    Historic canalside context

Port Loop’s legible townscape combines garden square townhouses, canal-front terraces and mansion block apartments to form a neighbourhood of mixed frontages, diverse heights and robustly expressed street corners. A network of pedestrian and cycle routes including 1.5km of new towpaths stitches the new neighbourhood and its historic canal infrastructure back into the heart of the city while anticipating a less car-dependent future.

A varied palette of innovative building types includes Brick House and our new Corner House apartment typology—a square-plan housing model with four apartments per floor. The arrangement is derived from the pure proportions of the Villa La Rotonda, a perfect circle inside a square forms a fully symmetrical composition. Taking cues from Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, Corner House is pioneering in its panelised model of delivery as well as its layout principles, which offer flexible plans designed for easy reconfiguration to suit the needs and preferences of residents.

  • Corner House 1:100 model

    Corner House 1:100 model

  • View of Corner House

    Corner House is a prominent marker at the edge of the Island

1:500 masterplan model


  • Tubeworks
  • Cornerhouse
  • Brick house

A Connected Community

By Hans Stolwijk

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Greening the city

Key to the character of this blossoming neighbourhood is the layering of communal green spaces for different generations of users. Garden squares for shared use by residents are enclosed by quads of terraces while central Birmingham’s first new public green spaces in over a decade—including a 1-acre village green—create community focal points for wellbeing and social congregation. In consultation with neighbour the Canal & River Trust, whose West Midlands workshop lies adjacent to the site, our masterplan enhances public access to a section of Birmingham’s historic canal network now invigorated with new life and activity including water taxis and canoeing clubs.

  • View of the central village green

    Central village green

  • View of Port Loop's play-out-till-tea community event

    Port Loop's play-out-till-tea community event

Building a new community involves more than bricks and mortar. To establish a framework for social infrastructure at Port Loop, we collaborated closely with stakeholders including Civic Square—a hyper-local open platform for kickstarting social networks. Events and activities curated at Port Loop’s new civic spaces include outdoor cinema, family park festivals and arts events. The YARD artspace is based at the centre of the Port Loop peninsula while Civic Square is now embedded at Tubeworks, a mixed-use hub and gateway to the district that repurposes valued fragments of the site’s industrial heritage for social and community functions.

Created with residents, a manifesto for living at Port Loop declares that this is the kind of neighbourhood where kids play outside until teatime, where the streets are green and pedestrian-friendly, where there is access to the canal network for every home and where homes adapt to people, not the other way round. In 2022 Port Loop residents elected their first Mayor.

Communal garden squares

Courtyard gardens

Client Urban Splash and Places for People
Location Birmingham
Size 17.4 ha
Status Current
Homes 1,500 houses and apartments
Dav Bansal
Shauna Bradley
Glenn Howells
Matthew Westley
Hans Stolwijk Anita Brindley Jonathan Badger
Any questions?