Birmingham is the place on everyone’s tongues this week with several large projects being announced, as the UK prepares for life outside the EU.


A huge flagship scheme set for Birmingham has been approved, with a fresh strategic business direction at the heart of the design. Martineau Galleries will see 1.4m square metres of workspace added to the shopping centres, and an additional 1,000 homes, and it will also have a signature gateway to Birmingham from the proposed Curzon Street HS2 terminal.

Work is scheduled for 2022, in a busy time for developments in the city.

Martineau Galleries, Birmingham

Martineau Galleries, Birmingham


The University of Birmingham is to recieve large scale investment over the next ten years, as Morgan Sindall, Galliford Try and Willmott Dixon all secure places on the two main construction deals. A huge £500 million worth of investment is to be put into the University,

Director of Estates Trevor Payne said: “We have an ambitious plan for the future of our campus and our objective is to create the best possible environment in which our students can achieve and our academic colleagues can undertake world-leading research.


A 11.7-acre derelict site has been secured for a large scale new residential development on Birmingham’s Main Line Canal. Upon the site will be 750 homes, all mid level affordable ranging from 2-3 bedroom houses to 1-2 bedroom flats. The regeneration will cost around £170m, and is yet another example of investors seeing Birmingham as a city for the future.

“Soho Wharf is the next big development opportunity and with planning now in place we’re excited to be bringing the project forward and helping the council achieve its ambition of creating more homes and attractive places to live for the people of Birmingham.”


Yasmeen Lari has been awarded the Jane Drew Prize for her work advising UNESCO and constructing thousands of homes in her home country of Pakistan for those affected by floods and earthquakes.


Zaha Hadid Architects’ love affair with curvaceous buildings continues, as they release visuals for a new ‘Gherkinesque’ skyscraper in Shenzhen. Four interconnected towers will form the new open-plan headquarters for OPPO, with the light filled offices designed to increase connectivity.

OPPO HQ - HEKKTA - Birmingham

OPPO HQ – HEKKTA – Birmingham


A huge announcement coming out of New York is that construction on the new skyscraper on 45 Broad Street, set to be the second tallest building in the area, has been postponed due to the undesirable climate in the property market at the moment. Developer Madison Equities have not given a restart date.


Roberto Cicutto has been appointed President of the Venice Biennale, running for four years with a maximum of three renewals. Cicutto is a veteran Italian film producer and CEO of Luce Cinecittà, and will replace Paolo Baratta, who presided over the Biennale for 8 years.


As we leave the European Union, the property market would seem to be in a state of flux, but property experts have been surprised at the resilience shown post election, and are optimistic for the coming year.

Rightmove predict a ‘buoyant sprint market for London homes”,

“The housing market dislikes uncertainty, and the unsettled political outlook over the last three-and-a -half years since the EU referendum caused some potential home movers to hesitate,” says Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside.

“There now seems to be a release of this pent-up demand, which suggests we are in store for an active spring market, with more properties being listed by new sellers than we have seen in recent years,” adds Shipside.


Britain’s longest road tunnel is to be extended by Highways England to further protect birds’ habitat. The £6.8bn Lower Thames Crossing will connect Kent, Essex and Thurrock.


UK house prices have risen to a 14-month high, with an increase of 1.9% in January.


David Adjaye’s first residential building in Manhattan, 130 William Street, nears completion. Designed to mimic the classic New York architecture style, the building sits in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan.


The skyscraper with the longest cantilever in the world is under construction in Dubai. Designed by Japanese firm Nikken Sekkei, the mixed-use twin towers titled One Za’abeel is set for completion in just one year.


Grafton Architects have completed the new addition to Kingston University on the outskirts of London, with a beautiful open plan stone design. Wishing the new Town House to act as “the university’s front door and a gateway to Kingston upon Thames”, the new building will play host to several different disciplines, from “dance, performance, lectures, exhibitions, research and learning”.

Kingston University - HEKKTA - Birmingham

Kingston University – HEKKTA – Birmingham


The number of mortages being approved by banks has jumped to a five year high, indicating a possible revival of the UK housing market.

Mortgage approvals for house purchases increased to 46,815 in December compared with 44,058 a month earlier, according to UK Finance – hitting the highest level since April 2015.


After 80 years in operation, the School of Architecture at Taliesin, which Frank Lloyd Wright established nearly 90 years ago, will shut in June, after failing to come to a financial agreement with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.


Further research into durable timber structures has been carried out by Sidewalk Labs. Their latest study, called Proto-Model X (PMX) investigates how timber buildings could work in cities after they announce they are to build an all-timber high-rise neighborhood on Toronto’s eastern waterfront.


Kengo Kuma’s stylish beehive like building has been completed, the architect’s first in Australia. Placed in the focal point of Darling Square, the building has been in the works for the best part of four years.

The Exchange - HEKKTA - Birmingham

The Exchange – HEKKTA – Birmingham