5-8 George Road
These four Grade II listed buildings were constructed as dwellings within the Calthorpe Estate during the early 1800’s. All four of the buildings were in a state of disrepair with some having been unoccupied for close to forty years prior to the commencement of works. The existing frontages on to George Road were also in a poor state and the rear gardens; apart from a car parking area was extensively overgrown and had been so for many years.
The damage to the buildings included leaking roofs, structurally unsound walls and floors and damp, whilst several thefts had robbed the structures of many original period features including the fireplaces. The worst property was in a particularly poor state with all the floors missing, leaving unstable internal walls running from the exposed cellar region to the apex of the roof.
The buildings were originally built as houses although it was believed that they were also used in part for work purposes – an early example of “live -work” units. Since the 1960’s they have been predominately used as office which is the current use.
The brief was to restore the building, internally and externally, in keeping with its Grade II listed status and to provide the basis for office use within the building. Although a refurbishment to the eye, much of the buildings particularly at the rear of the site had to be completely rebuilt, using the original materials where possible. The development has been set against the enhanced street refurbishment carried out by Birmingham City Council and Calthorpe Estates since the development took place.
Planning permission was also granted for a new building within the garden areas of the buildings, although the client has since decided to delay the construction of this phase.
This ‘L shaped’ building consists of 9 live-work apartments focusing on a mature beech tree which was lost in amongst the overgrown wilderness. The ‘L shaped’ building has been designed to be separate from the listed buildings but by its positioning creates an implied courtyard. Because of the outlook towards tall office buildings, the main rooms of the new apartments all focus into a new square. Lesser rooms generally look outwards from the site and the mature tree planting to the rear boundaries have been retained to soften the view.
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