Brick by brick: How imperfection creates perfection

As Robin Norstrom, Director at Apsley House Capital explains, when it comes to Timber Yard in Birmingham, fine details can make a lasting impression.

Timber Yard in Birmingham is a 14-storey private development of two highly specified buildings that is set to take shape from October this year. The development will house 379 studio, 1, 2 & 3 bedroom apartments, overlooking a central courtyard alive with natural daylight and green space.

Strategically placed just yards from the proposed £1.5 billion Birmingham Smithfield project, Timber Yard is at the heart of the city’s architectural and cultural regeneration. Designed to an exceptional specification, we believe it will stand out from the crowd.

No half measures

Brick is expensive and slow, it’s why few developers choose to use it – not all of it, anyway. Most developers use purpose-built half-bricks or brick slips, a quick and hassle-free way to clad a new building and a less labour-intensive alternative to using a whole brick. If this approach is more profitable for the developer and a proportion of those cost savings can be passed on to the customer, what’s the problem? Take a look at the exterior of a new and large development in our city and what do you see? Spotless and perfect but quite possibly a succession of mundane, repetitive and flat facades, absent of the kind of detail that creates character, generates interest and captivates the imagination. You will learn to live with them, but you will never love them.

Design for life

A 14-storey building is rarely comprised of full brick, it wouldn’t necessarily make commercial sense to do so. Timber Yard is different. Based in a city where quality increasingly matters, we made an architecturally driven decision to use full brick throughout. Our approach allows a depth of detailing that cannot be achieved through other methods. Brick type also plays a crucial role in the finished look and feel of a project. One of its many advantages is the range of types and colours it offers. Variety brings choice and in the case of Timber Yard, the opportunity to select a rustic brick, that will afford it a distinct sense of character. Every single Timber Yard brick is unique and will reward you with something different, each time you look at it. Its imperfection creates perfection.

Front of house

What is taking shape at Timber Yard is highly unusual, with a façade more akin to a character building. It doesn’t look like anything else being built. That’s also because all four frontages of the building are active. As a developer creating a public space, we passionately believe in our responsibility to elevate the streetscape. People will be looking at and living with this building for years to come. We’ve ensured that Timber Yard contains more than 250 metres of commercial frontage, including a fully equipped gymnasium, screening room, residents’ private club lounge and concierge services. Up until recently, city-based developments were too often poorly designed, with blank ‘back of house’ walls destroying entire streetscapes. Not only are they unattractive to look at, they often attract anti-social behavior. We believe that by being open for business, Timber Yard is a good project for the people of Birmingham.

To discover more about Timber Yard, Birmingham, click here