Birmingham Architecture Walking Tour is a 1.4 mile point-to-point trail located near the city of Birmingham. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for walking.
The highways and expressways that carve their way through the centre of Birmingham, and its reputation as a 'concrete jungle' have led to the rest of the country - architecture buffs apart - being convinced that there is little of architectural merit to see in the city. However, the city is a stunning mix of Georgian,Victorian and Baroque bravura, and has the remnants of a brutalist revolution, and a fascinating piece of "blobitecture". It's certainly true that the priority once given to road building, and the fact that a combination of the Luftwaffe's bombs and Birmingham's post-war town planners led to major redevelopment in the 1960s and 1970s, mean that Birmingham is not a conventionally beautiful city. Nevertheless it is an architecturally interesting one - if you arrive with an open mind. In the Selfridges building, the iconic symbol of the new Bullring development, where our tour starts, it has a building quite unlike anything else in the country. A short walk away The Rotunda, the one surviving element of the post-war Bullring is an introduction to the once-radical architecture that can be seen elsewhere on the route, notably in the National Westminster Tower on Colmore Row, and on the Brutalist Central Library which might now, as the librarians get ready to transfer its stacks to a replacement building, be said to be on Death Row. Colmore Row is something of a treasure house, with plenty to delight those who prefer their architecture more traditional, from the Baroque flamboyance of the Cathedral to the High Victorian pomp of Yeoville Thomason's buildings and the confident panache of the Eagle Insurance Building - one of the country's most notable Arts and Crafts buildings. Just around the corner in Victoria and Chamberlain Squares the conjunction of the Renaissance-style Council House, the elegantly classical Town Hall and the swaggering Museum and Art Gallery with its Big Ben-like clock tower all offer an interesting counterpoint to the raw economy of the doomed Central Library. Meanwhile sen or eight minutes walk away the Mailbox in its regenerated canal-side setting show how a utilitarian 1970s building can find new life and purpose with a definite sense of style. It will never be imperial like London or beautiful like Edinburgh, but twenty-first century Birmingham is definitely worth exploring.