Oh dear; Icon magazine agrees with The Spectator in not liking Birmingham’s new Bullring:

“It is built in the universal language of large-scale retail – beige brick-and-render curtain walling, with cosmetic modulation of the facades to pretend that the development is more than just a monolith. The detail of the join between Selfridges’ section of facade and the rest of the development … is so rudimentary that one would be surprised if Future Systems and Benoy had bothered to talk to each other during the entire design process.” … “the strange post-modernism of many of the facades bears no relationship to the surrounding architectural context, and looks so half-hearted that it is not even an enjoyable confection. … Too scared or cheap to make an austere facade with material quality, not talented enough to decorate a facade convincingly, and too bound up in retail convention to enable the building to become programmatically flexible, this development is doomed to never become part of a living urban context.” … “What has been missed is the opportunity to give Birmingham a new architecture, and precedent that could genuinely influence the direction of development in the city for a generation. The city has got a huge mall with a blue and silver boil on its side.”

When the crusty old curmugeons at The Spectator and Icon‘s design glitterati agree, you can be pretty sure the planners’ work hasn’t touched the zeitgeist. Let’s hope that the giant £80m Science Park just announced for the space between Millenium Point and Aston University won’t be just another chrome-rimmed 90s-style shed park. After Millenium Point and The Bullring, we can’t afford any more design mis-fires.