- M&P Consultant Stage 4: Imtech + Hydrock
- Partner & Concept Design: Dav Bansal
- Director & Concept Design: Rob King
- Senior Architectural Designer & Delivery: Maria Jurardo-Wiseman
- Senior Architectural Technologist & Delivery: Ieva Kubiliute
- Senior Architect & Delivery: Josh Alliington
- Quantity Surveyor: Arcadis
- Fire Consultant: Jensen Hughes
- Cdm Coordinator: CDM Services
- Approved Building Inspector: Acivico
- City: Birmingham
- Country: United Kingdom
Text description provided by the architects. A striking new addition to Birmingham’s skyline, Moda, The Mercian has redefined high-rise living in the city, and become its tallest residential tower. Developed by rental living pioneer Moda Living and designed by Glenn Howells Architects, it represents a cutting-edge new template for build-to-rent neighborhoods, combining accessible, aspirational homes, with generous resident amenities and services in a highly desirable central location.
With the population of Birmingham growing, alongside a resurgent economy that is driving increasing amounts of international investment across finance, technology, and advanced manufacturing, there is a need for more housing in the city that is better connected to places of work, recreation, and culture. This new offer will cater to this influx, bringing a contemporary residential typology promoting well-being, community values, and sustainable living through mixed-use, high-density design principles.
Comprising 481 new homes, from spacious one-beds to three-bed family homes, the building also incorporates a residents’ lounge, 24-hour gym, private dining room, cinema and games rooms, and a 200m running track set within 1,400 sqm of outdoor space on a rooftop terrace overlooking the city. With a central location on Broad Street - just a five-minute walk from Chamberlain Square, the city’s new business address, also master planned by Glenn Howells Architects – The Mercian marks the western gateway to the city center and is a major catalyst for the continuing regeneration of this fast developing neighborhood.
As part of a three-story podium filling the site’s footprint, an active frontage of flexible commercial units now meets Broad Street on ground level, re-establishing the urban grain that has historically characterized the area, and transforming a previously underutilized space. The podium is also home to a triple-height foyer and reception area, together with shopfronts and 489 cycle storage spaces, which promote active and sustainable travel, reducing the building’s whole life-cycle carbon emissions.
The tall, slender proportion of the tower rising above the precast stone-clad podium is wrapped in a dynamic mix of bronze metal fins and glazed panels. This façade emphasizes the verticality and elegance of the building form, brings contrast in tone and texture, and references the former Timmins brass works once located on the site. To reduce embodied energy, minimize site wastage and deliver consistent quality on a restricted city center site, the façade was constructed from just over 3,600 unitized panels from a prefabricated assembly with offsite manufacturing.
Designed as a 21st-century smart building, data on thermal comfort levels, Co2 and lighting conditions is automatically tracked in real-time through the residents’ app and can be adjusted to meet well-being standards and environmental performance. The technology also allows residents to monitor their energy usage and costs in real-time, encouraging them to minimize these. The building operates 100% on renewable energy from wind, tidal and solar sources. As a long-term operator, Moda Living bulk buys renewable energy for 12 months at a time, passing the cost savings onto its residents.
Delivered on the build-to-rent model, The Mercian will help to ensure that Birmingham has the next generation of a residential offer to attract and retain the changing demographic of people working in the city. Not only tapping into rejuvenated city infrastructure, but the building also stands to tap into the social infrastructure of a better-connected, healthier, and greener city.