Eastside Locks, Birmingham, UK


Much of our current work on hybrid buildings, and the very current post-pandemic approaches to buildings that promote collaboration have been explored in the design of our STEAMhouse project - a unique building with a sequence of spaces that will foster creativity by attracting a mix of people and encouraging connectivity

Project Details

  • Location UK
  • Type New build
  • Status Under Construction
  • Sector Education
  • Client Birmingham City University
  • Services Architecture

STEAMhouse is an initiative is being developed by Eastside Projects with Birmingham City University and aims to create centres for creative innovation and cultural production where space is used by creative businesses, including self-employed, sole trading artists, designers and makers, who can apply to join.

Members can access a range of support, including the Open Route – designed to enable artists to prototype ideas and develop and produce new work with access to the Production Space workshops and co-working space, alongside a programme of business support.

STEAMhouse 2, currently on site at Eastside Locks, aims to build upon the foundation set up by phase 1 and take the initiative forwards, enhancing the reach of STEAMhouse into the academic world by the inclusion of a new education faculty called the STEAM Academy – a brand new STEM-based university course that will offer interdisciplinary courses with industry input.

Close to completion, it has been shortlisted for the 2022 RICS Awards for the West Midlands Region.

Aukett Swanke have worked closely with Birmingham City University and STEAM to unlock the creative brief to which this building aspires

Development of the existing and new elements with central social hub

Along with the restoration of Belmont Works we have created a large addition to the rear, which pays homage to the site’s industrial past while being sensitive to the historic building.

The production heritage of the site and context marries perfectly with the future purpose, where the products, services and companies of the future will be created through interdisciplinary collaboration.

STEAMhouse2 incorporates the historic and locally listed Belmont Works, whose industrial heritage as part of a Victorian factory complex is a key driver for the design.  The red brick and terracotta Victorian building is a key element in the wider regeneration plans of the area;  it has long been a recognisable local landmark and had gone through a variety of uses over the years until a fire in 2007 caused significant damage.
Belmont Works building restored with new addition to the rear
Ground plan with social hub at the heart of the building
Rear Engine Intersection

The building is designed around the ethos of encouraging collaboration between different people from different disciplines, providing an environment which fosters new and existing relationships - this is achieved by creating a nuclear arrangement, in which a central common social space creates a collaborative heart around which individual spaces revolve

The development is rated BREEAM ‘Excellent’, and is currently on site with full completion due in 2022.

With the base build part of the building nearing completion, we have put together a short video to show a brief overview of how we got here – STEAMhouse: from concept to (near) completion.

Site progress

Hub - January 2022
External view - January 2022
Refurbishment of Belmont Works: internal view - November 2021
Exterior view - September 2021
Belmont Works exterior refurbished - August 2021
Roof terrace progress - August 2021
Exterior view - May 2021
Hub - May 2021
Hub - May 2021
Terracotta detail - May 2021
Explore Eastside Locks Master Plan Eastside Locks Master Plan