Birmingham City Council launched a major new project today. I spent the afternoon with Director of Housing, Elaine Elkington and Councilor John Lines at the opening of our passive solar experiment in Kings Heath. This marks the beginning of 3 years of post-occupancy monitoring we’ll be doing in collaboration with the guys at Hockerton Housing.

This is one of the projects I presented at Ecobuild – slides available at Slideshare.

Oh, and I hear there was some announcement about a new library.

A little early to judge from such a small amount of information – 3 images released so far – but from the looks of this sketch it would seem that the fate of the existing John Madin designed building has been decided. You can’t normally see the museum’s clock tower on the horizon from here.

The tussle of architectural periods between the three buildings on the square, hinted at by Mecanoo’s Francine Houben in the video, somehow reminds me of the John Cleese and Two Ronnies sketch.

Although being literally grounded through its reach down into the very soil of the city, the sunken amphitheatre proposed does help it avoid feeling like little more than a beauty competition line up. You want me to be open to the people of Birmingham? Here’s my lower intestine. Perhaps the way to a buildings heart is through its stomach.