Rotunda developer showcases 25-year history in new exhibition

The property developer behind two of Birmingham’s most well-known regeneration projects of recent years is hosting a retrospective exhibition in the city to mark its 25th birthday.

Urban Splash led the redevelopment of the Rotunda in New Street which saw the former 1960s office building converted into 234 new apartments in 2008.

It later spearheaded the overhaul of Fort Dunlop, the derelict former tyre factory in Castle Bromwich, to create modern office and retail space and a new Travelodge hotel overlooking the M6 which opened in 2006.

Urban Splash has now created an exhibition of its developments called ‘It Will Never Work’ – a nod to the reaction it has received over the years when outlining some of its ambitions and projects.

Fort Dunlop in 1983 before its redevelopment

The Manchester-based developer has teamed up with industry body the Royal Institute of British Architects to curate the exhibition which details the company’s birth from its first project in Liverpool to some of its latest schemes.

These include Port Loop, the long-awaited residential development next to Birmingham Canal Old Line near Edgbaston Reservoir, phase one of which was awarded the green light in October and will comprise 117 houses and 90 apartments.

Urban Splash was co-founded in 1993 by Jonathan Falkingham and Tom Bloxham.

Mr Falkingham said: “We’ve had such an exciting 25 years using great design to create transformative projects around the country and I’m thrilled we can bring this exhibition to a city that has played a major part in our story.

“Fort Dunlop is the biggest single building we have ever redeveloped – creating 400,000 sq ft of workspace, retail space and a hotel.

“It was a big success and brought an important structure back to life.

“Equally with Rotunda, we spent a lot of time in Birmingham during its redevelopment, ensuring we had correctly gauged what people wanted from the project to help us preserve an important icon.

Urban Splash co-founders Jonathan Falkingham (left) and Tom Bloxham at their exhibition 'It Will Never Work'
Urban Splash co-founders Jonathan Falkingham (left) and Tom Bloxham at their exhibition ‘It Will Never Work’

“I very much look forward to showing people these projects, plus all of our significant achievements from the past quarter of a century.”

Mr Bloxham added: “Curating this exhibition has been a humbling exercise looking back at the roots of our business.

“It has given us an exciting opportunity to reflect back on schemes like Fort Dunlop and Rotunda as well as outlining our plans for transforming even more places in the Midlands and other UK cities in the coming years.”

The exhibition is being hosted at Glenn Howells Architects in Bradford Street, Digbeth, until July 17.


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