Image of Paradise Birmingham development. Credit Paradise Birmingham; Image of Paradise Birmingham development. Credit Paradise Birmingham;

Paradise Birmingham, Birmingham

Transforming a key site in Britain's second most populous city

Paradise is the biggest and the most radical development scheme Birmingham has seen for a generation. The seven-hectare site has many complexities including a dual-carriageway running beneath it, a district heating plant room as well as the adjacent Grade I listed Town Hall. When delivered in 2028, the development will comprise 1.8 million ft² (167,225 m²) containing a new public realm as well as up to ten new high-quality buildings offering offices, shops, bars, cafés, restaurants and a hotel. 

Our services are wide-ranging from ensuring that the development is well protected from fire, carrying out wind tunnel tests, and advising on the structure and fabric of the buildings to meet stringent environmental and energy targets, to creating a comprehensive digital model of the site and all of its current and future buildings. 

We are providing all engineering and specialist design for the phased masterplanning and delivery of the development. 

One and Two Chamberlain Square formed part of phase one and now provide 350,000 ft² of Grade A office space as well as ground-floor retail outlets in addition to the newly refurbished, iconic square itself.  

Phase two is well underway and includes the next commercial building in the development, One Centenary Way, which will become home to Arup in the Midlands from 2023. This complex, 12-storey, 265,000 ft² commercial building is positioned directly over the Queensway Tunnel and is supported with 30m long steel trusses totalling 1,000 tonnes.  

Design for phase three is in progress and includes a 140 room, boutique hotel and the distinct and instantly recognisable Octagon residential tower. The tower will place a landmark on the city’s skyline, offering homes of unparalleled individuality with every apartment enjoying a generous 13m facet of the Octagon, a first-ever for a residential product. 

Project Summary

£700 million investment

1.8 million ft²mixed use development

7 hectaressite in the heart of the city

Centenary Way opens up city views that have been blocked for 50 years

Multi-purposed exoskeleton

One Centenary Way is possibly the most complex of all the buildings on the Paradise site. It spans over a dual carriageway tunnel and has a non-structural core. Our structural engineering team worked closely with the architect to evaluate numerous options for integrating a stability system into the building’s façade. We drew upon the expertise of in-house experts to provide detailed information on fire resistance, materials specification and fabrication methodologies to ensure the evaluation of each option was detailed and complete. Close attention was paid to construction sequence and progressive deflection of the individual structures from the earliest stages. Our fire engineering solution for the One Centenary Way structural frame saved over £400,000 of intumescent paint costs. 2,000 tonnes of steelwork in the perimeter frame of One Centenary Way provide stability in lieu of a structural core above the Queensway tunnel.

Complexity of the city centre site 

The site has presented the team with many technical challenges with several level changes, buried services, interfaces with the city fabric, and the A38 arterial road passing directly beneath it in a tunnel. The team also had to consider the adjacency of Grade I listed Town Hall and ensure that the existing hotel remains operational throughout. To manage this complexity, we used our BIM skills and sophisticated 3D LiDAR surveys to create a virtual 3D model of the whole site. This gave stakeholders a quick and thorough understanding of the site and how it will evolve. You can see the project take shape on the Paradise Birmingham website.

One Chamberlain Square. Credit Paradise Birmingham One Chamberlain Square. Credit Paradise Birmingham
One Chamberlain Square’s curved ceramic façade will be a distinctive addition to the Birmingham skyline. Image © Paradise Birmingham

Assessing flood risks 

To support a multi-phased construction programme and meet the requirements of existing infrastructure, Arup carried out a comprehensive flood risk assessment including drainage strategy for the site. The most appropriate discharge locations from the surrounding sewer networks were selected to best accommodate development proposals. Through this assessment, flood risk was effectively mitigated by design, proposing a surface water drainage strategy that ultimately reduced discharge by 40%.

Image of Paradise Birmingham development. Credit Paradise Birmingham Image of Paradise Birmingham development. Credit Paradise Birmingham

Arup have been excellent and are up there with the best engineering firms I have worked with in terms of the relationship and getting things done. The staff are really professional. ” Rob Groves Regional Director, Argent