QWEENsway Ringway

Intervention Architecture with Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, Save Smallbook Ringway, Zero Carbon House, Webb Yates Engineers and Sean Burn

In the future, there is no singular ideal home – the home will be made through reclaim, reuse and negotiation, contingent on context and constituents. “QWEENSway Ringway: it’s giving Monumental Domesticity” builds upon our teams activist national campaign to Save Smallbrook Ringway Centre in Birmingham. We propose this modernist icon of post-war reconstruction is retained, linking the paradigmatic shift from carbon-intensive modes of building, to new nurtured experiences of urban living in co-existence and queer kinship.

Providing over 19,000 sqm of floor space and with an embodied carbon a rate of 1100 kgCO/m2, our proposal transforms the horizontal open-plan office floor plates with connectivity to outside space via vertical cores, shared rooms, services. Domestic interiors are negotiated within the existing reinforced concrete frame, adaptable to lifestyle choice and circumstance, from a range of prefabricated panels grown on site in renewable biomaterials such as cross-laminated bamboo and hemp. The south façade becomes an inhabited wintergarden enclosed by over a thousand windows salvaged from the north elevation of the Ringway Centre. Connecting to the immediate Chinese Quarter (and our team member Chinese Community Centre), grown herbs are used for medicinal use, wellbeing, nourishment and edibles. We celebrate proximity to gay village (and our team member Sean Burns research), alternative domesticities, a vibrancy of how residents take ownership and activate the existing civic structure. A disassembled car park forms a lower level pool of collected rainwater for irrigation, which also provides heating and cooling to the interior through natural ventilation.

Our proposal foregrounds inclusive fair housing and contemporary practices in conservation, whilst setting new standards for carbon reduction.

Intervention Architecture
Anna Parker, Architect
Chloe Dent, Architect

Save Smallbrook Campaign
Mary Keating, Activist

Chinese Community Centre Birmingham
Kate Gordon, Development Manager

Birmingham City University
Dr Michael Dring, Academic Lead, Senior Lecturer
Taibah Jabin, Student
Eleanor Owen, Student
Thomas Davis, Student
Mohib Ullah, Student

John Christophers, Architect and Founder of Zero Carbon House

Webb Yates
Rob Nield, Structural Engineer and Director

editor of Frieze
Sean Burns, Artist and writer