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City Centre Living

Cities are built on people and talent, and this residential development in the Broad Street district of central Birmingham attracts people to the very heart of a city in the throes of a remarkable renaissance.

The Mercian has been shortlisted in this years Architects' Journal AJ Awards in the Housing Project (£20m and over) category. Read more here.

A marker of the new Birmingham

The Mercian’s 42-storeys provide 481 upmarket homes for rent in Birmingham’s tallest inhabited building, acting as a launch pad into the city for knowledge workers at newly arrived companies including Goldman Sachs and PwC, as well as the city’s burgeoning tech and digital sectors.

Located just outside the infamous ‘concrete collar’ of Birmingham’s post-war Inner Ring Road, The Mercian is integral to the regeneration of a district caught up in one of the greatest planning blunders of the 20th century. Today, the City Council’s efforts to undo the strangulating effect of the ring road system are creating a 21st-century city made for people rather than cars.

  • Dusk view of Mercian

    View of the building's shoulder and intricate crown

  • View of the crown shows the building's intricate metalwork

    View of the crown shows the building's intricate metalwork

  • 1:50 model showing the facade and crown

A marker of the new Birmingham, The Mercian is an elegantly orthogonal tower signalling the city’s resolute rebirth. Just as the Chicago School architects pioneered the skyscraper at the turn of the twentieth century—and redefined it in the post-war years—at The Mercian we set out to define an architecture that epitomises a new era for Birmingham.

Responding to an urban grain of horizontal podiums and vertical slab blocks, the slender, subtly burnished tower rises from a monumental precast-clad plinth engaging Broad Street with three levels of dynamic frontage. A reference to Birmingham’s brass foundries and the Timmins Brassworks once located on the site, the facade’s defining rhythm of bronze fins was constructed as a prefabricated unitised system to maximise build quality and speed with minimal waste. Façade compositions are based on a ‘double order’ of architectural articulation—emphasising verticality and elegance and culminating in a ‘crown’ of finely elongated proportions.

  • View of the facade's bronze veil

    The façade’s light bronze ‘veil’ allows for a dynamic play of shadows across the building.

  • The building's unitised system steps in at the third level to create a visible transition between the pre-cast stone podium and the residential levels.

  • View from an apartment out to the city

    The proportion of the facade's openings works with the structural grid and apartment layouts.

  • Typical bay axonometric

    Typical bay axonometric

  • Typical residential level

    Typical residential level

View of the building's facade and crown

Facade concept

By Maria Jurado-Wiseman

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  • View of the facade's bronze veil

A new way of living

Built in partnership with Moda Living, The Mercian establishes new frontiers in Birmingham’s rental market, offering superior quality homes with an enhanced service offer and extended amenities. Residents of studios, one-beds and two- or three-bed family apartments have access to entertaining facilities, cinema, a 24-hour gym and wellbeing support on tap. A running track loops around the development’s 1,400 sq m podium terrace while the building’s technology allows residents to fine-tune their apartment environments through their phones.

Finished in crisply detailed fair-faced concrete, The Mercian’s podium houses a triple-height residential reception, single and double-height retail units, residents’ amenities and an on-site management team alongside a floor of flexible workspaces for use by tenants and citizens.

“Renters have been poorly served by the housing market and the aim of build-to-rent is to change that by providing everything people need—from workspace to wellbeing—with a mix of community, security and great service.”
Tony Brooks, Managing Director, Moda Living

  • View of the landscaped podium garden

    Landscaped podium garden

  • Podium level

    Podium level

Client Moda Living
Location Birmingham
Size 45,300 sq m
Status Completed 2022
Homes 481 built-to-rent apartments
Awards Building Design – Private Housing Architect of the Year 2023
Dav Bansal
Robert King
Maria Jurado-Wiseman
Charlotte Gallen
Francesca Ghavami-Milnes
Any questions?