Selfridges Building, Birmingham

Selfridges, Birmingham, is a branch of one of Britain’s most famous and luxurious shops. It sells just about everything from shoes to sunglasses and sweets to stationery.

The Selfridges Department Store in Birmingham completed in 2003 quickly became a heavily discussed landmark. This is what Future Systems say about he building on their website: "Our brief was not only to design a state of the art department store but also to create an architectural landmark for Birmingham so that the building itself would become a genuine catalyst for urban regeneration.

We have re-interpreted the notion of a department store, not just in its form and appearance but also in the social function such a building now plays in our society. Its relationship to the church is significant, representing the religious and commercial lives of the city that have evolved side by side over hundreds of years.

The fluidity of shape recalls the fall of fabric or the soft lines of a body, rises from the ground and gently billows outwards before being drawn in at a kind of waistline. It then curves out again and over to form the roof, in one continuous movement. The skin is made up of thousands of aluminium discs, creating a fine, lustrous grain like the scales of a snake or the sequins of a Paco Rabanne dress. In sunlight it shimmers, reflecting minute changes in weather conditions and taking on the colours, light and shapes of people and things passing by - an animate and breathing form.

 

 

The interior is planned around a dramatic roof lit atrium criss-crossed by a white cat’s cradle of sculpted escalators and a smaller but equally powerful atrium.