Platform 21 is the bold reimagining of one of Birmingham’s most well-known high street office spaces. Throughout its life Platform 21 has been known as The Woolworths or The Charters buildings, instantly recognised by its external ‘wall climber’ glass lift that faces onto New Street, Birmingham’s main pedestrian thoroughfare. The current incarnation has grown dated and tired. Associated Architects were approached by Evanacre, on behalf of LaSalle Investment Management, to create a design that would reinvigorate the building and allow it to take on a new identity
It is now transformed into 10,400sq.m of Category A refurbished office space at the heart of a rapidly changing city that was let in its entirety, before completion, to a major governmental organisation.
The user experience upon entry has been completely transformed. A decision was taken to reposition the entrance from its existing location on New Street to a new location on Stephenson Street, placing it at the doorstep of the newly expanded Midland Metro and Birmingham’s New Street station. This new entrance is re-clad in a contemporary palette of sleek grey terracotta panels. Internally, visitors are met by an inviting double-height reception area, with a sleek design that sets the tone for the rest of the building.
Large, open plan floor plates create dynamic workspaces ranging from just over 1,000sq.m to 1,200sq.m with dramatic views across the city. Facilities such as a bike store and showers enable the building’s users to maintain healthy lifestyles.
Works were also undertaken to significantly transform the building’s exterior, from a visual perspective and in order to improve its energy performance. Considerations to reduce Platform 21’s environmental impact were woven into the design from day one. The building’s new main façade and glazing improve its overall thermal performance.
Low energy LED light fittings will be utilised throughout, and a photovoltaic array is installed on the roof. These technologies deliver serious improvements in energy consumption and the targeted EPC rating of B was achieved. These sustainability measures will result in reduced operating costs, and in turn savings that can be passed directly onto the occupier.
Birmingham continues to go through a period of drastic change and Platform 21 sits at the heart of this transformation. It is surrounded by the redevelopments of New Street Station, Grand Central and the almost 170,000sq.m Paradise scheme. With unrivalled links to local and regional transport and a prime city centre address, Platform 21 has become an important commercial office addition to a transformed Birmingham.