Curzon Wharf net zero carbon scheme revealed in Birmingham

Associated Architects has revealed plans for a net zero carbon-ready mixed-use scheme with four towers, including a 53 storey Build to Rent building.

Curzon Wharf net zero carbon scheme, Birmingham - Associated Architects | BTR News
Curzon Wharf net zero carbon scheme, Birmingham.

Associated Architects has revealed plans for a net zero carbon-ready mixed-use scheme at Woodbourne Group’s Curzon Wharf in Birmingham. The £360m development will rejuvenate this under-utilised site and become the catalyst for future growth in the area and beyond. Hybrid planning submission for the scheme is expected in April 2021.

Associated Architects has worked closely with the Woodbourne Group to ensure that net zero carbon principles are embedded in the new development – which will include three new buildings including Build to Rent – starting with a fabric first and Passivhaus principles.

“Curzon Wharf is a key development for Birmingham, and it will lead the way for others within the city centre. We’ve worked closely with Woodbourne Group and the wider team over the past 18 months to ensure that net zero carbon principles are embedded in the development, starting with a fabric first and Passivhaus principles, efficient building services systems and removing fossil fuel use on site. It has been a hugely exciting scheme to be a part of.”

Alex Carter, Partner at Cundall, and Multidisciplinary Project Lead

The buildings will be wrapped in a homogenous checkerboard pattern of cladding – echoing the rich tones of the City’s red brick industrial architectural heritage, whilst the proportions of solid and glass and high insulation levels are carefully considered to meet the energy performance targets. 

Ground view of Curzon Wharf development - Associated Architects | BTR News
Ground view of Curzon Wharf development.

“It is a pleasure to work with Woodbourne Group on this exciting and innovative project. 

“Curzon Wharf is a statement of intent regarding design quality and its vision for net zero carbon-ready, mixed-use development is a bold response to Birmingham City Council’s call to action on climate change.”

Richard Perry, Director, Associated Architects

The 3-acre mixed-use scheme will include 498 apartments in a 53 storey Build to Rent development – called Boulton Tower. The second 41 storey building will house 732 student flats, with the third to include 265 coliving units in a 14-storey tower. The scheme will also include a 19 story, 12,000 sqm office/R&D and building life sciences building.

The net zero carbon agenda is at the heart of Associated Architects ethos and Curzon Wharf marks the next logical step for the practice, as well as underlining its pedigree in designing low-energy buildings, including the UK’s largest non-domestic Passivhaus facility.

Street view of Curzon Wharf net zero carbon development - Associated Architects | BTR News
Street view of Curzon Wharf net zero carbon development.

Associated Architects are working with engineering consultancy Cundall – to take a whole building approach to achieve deep energy efficiency. The scheme will deliver an optimised thermal envelope in line with Passivhaus principles – super insulated walls, floor and roof, minimisation of thermal bridging, triple glazing, maximisation of daylight, LED lighting and SMART controls. This will enable fossil fuels to be eliminated from the site, with heat pumps satisfying all heat demands.

“These proposals will have a truly transformative impact, providing a powerful piece of sustainable architecture on a gateway site into the city centre and a new vibrant destination along the historic canal network. 

“Sky terraces, winter gardens and tree-lined piazzas will provide a substantial scheme of green urban infrastructure and external amenity, in line with the themes of Birmingham City Council’s ‘Our Future City Plan’.

“We have worked closely with the Council to knit the scheme into the vision for Dartmouth Circus and the network of pedestrian routes, cycle paths, canals and public places.”

Richard Perry, Director, Associated Architects

The site is laid out as a composition of sculptural forms rising in scale towards its northern peninsula onto Dartmouth Circus. On approach along the A38, Aston Expressway, the two towers offer their narrowest facades, referencing the proportions of the BT Tower further in the distance, as well as echoing the slender forms of the tall chimneys that once peppered the City’s skyline.

Approach along the A38, Aston Expressway - Birmingham's Curzon Wharf's two towers offer their narrowest facades - Associated Architects | BTR News
Approach along the A38, Aston Expressway – Birmingham’s Curzon Wharf’s two towers showing their narrowest facades.

On approach along the canal, one of the towers will provide a dramatic stop-end to the view, drawing pedestrians, cyclists and potentially canal taxis northwards through Eastside. The proposals have considered neighbours as well as the wider framework of Birmingham City Council’s adjacent ‘Knowledge Quarter’ masterplan, which Associated Architects also worked on.

“Curzon Wharf isn’t just a development, it’s a manifesto that will position Birmingham as the UK’s leading smart and sustainable city, helping to pave the way for the UK’s Green Revolution. It reinforces Birmingham’s position as the UK’s second city. 

“It will act as a catalyst for the wider transformation of the Eastside area where a number of masterplans have been earmarked which otherwise would not be possible. 

“It signposts Birmingham’s route to delivering transformational change to the city. It will promote social, cultural and economic exchange in a truly transformative urban neighbourhood.” 

Tani Dulay, CEO, Woodbourne Group