The Badge Works is an Art Deco factory built in the 1930s located in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter which has been remodelled to create a mixed use development of live-work townhouses, commercial units and loft style apartments.
The site lies within the Industrial Middle which restricted its residential use. A constructive dialogue was established with the Planning Department which allowed a flexible application of the percentage of ‘live’ and ‘work’ space within each unit. This has allowed a diverse range of purchasers to use each unit in a flexible way that suits their individual needs and has resulted in a vibrant and diverse community.
The concept was to restore the existing building by stripping back and subtracting elements to regain the simple and pure architectural quality of the existing space whilst reducing the carbon footprint and using the embodied energy. A simple palette of new raw materials is combined with the old to emphasise the character of the existing building, which has been revealed and re-invented including the exposure of the existing brickwork, steel and concrete beams, original high ceilings and opening up of large volumes.
Living spaces and kitchens are located on the top floors to maximise daylight and views with bedrooms and workspaces on lower floors. The living space spills out onto large steel mesh balconies supported off the original roof structure re-interpreting the original rooftop over the courtyard. The courtyard space acts as a light well and centre-point for activity and retains the industrial memory of the site with the re-adaptation of the existing crane and steel beams.
New staircase, roof lights and windows are treated as lightweight additions inserted into the existing spaces to create views and new light-filled open living spaces contrasting with the heavy mass and dark spaces of the existing building. The Badge Works is a development with an agenda to raise the quality of housing in the Central Birmingham market and demonstrates that speculative housing building can deliver high-quality architecture and regenerate lost and forgotten parts of our industrial heritage.