Construction date:\r\n1988\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation:\r\nBirmingham, UK\r\nPredicted life of coating:\r\n50 years\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nMany\u00a0Brummies\u00a0probably pass by Brunel Street car park without giving it a second glance.\u00a0Sited\u00a0near the heart of Birmingham city centre,\u00a0between a busy, part-elevated\u00a0road and\u00a0a\u00a0shiny new development of cafes and restaurants,\u00a0its appeal is softer and more subtle than your average multi-storey monolith.\r\n\r\nIn 1988 Brunel Street car park represented a new model\u00a0in\u00a0car park design. With a\u00a0lighter, semi-permeable structure,\u00a0it embodies the philosophy that the functional should work aesthetically too. Planters and cantilevered balconies offer up\u00a0a softer profile than that of its\u00a0usual\u00a0concrete\u00a0contemporaries\u00a0and\u00a0demonstrate\u00a0how\u00a0considered landscaping\u00a0can\u00a0play an important role in achieving\u00a0a sympathetic\u00a0design ethos.\u00a0The multi storey\u00a0steel-framed design with long spans provides ramped, column-free parking for 390 cars.\r\nAt the time of its construction, a\u00a020 year\u00a0maintenance-free life was considered the target for the specifiers.\r\nConstruction for the car park started in November 1987 and was completed a mere 35 weeks later in July 1988. All 350 tonnes of structural steelwork were hot dip galvanized whilst the perimeter cladding of galvanized steel mesh, with a \u2018V\u2019 profile, was powder coated in poppy red. At the time of its construction, a\u00a020 year\u00a0maintenance-free life was considered the target for the specifiers."\r\nBrunel Street - 1998\r\n\r\nBrunel Street - 2013\r\n2013 marked\u00a0Brunel Street car park\u2019s\u00a0silver anniversary\u00a0and during this lifespan the structure has\u00a0witnessed the rebirth of Birmingham.\u00a0\u00a0This has included the\u00a0construction of Symphony Hall,\u00a0the\u00a0redevelopment of the Bull Ring, the resurrection of\u00a0Birmingham\u2019s\u00a0central canal network and, more recently, the new Birmingham Library. In that time,\u00a0the Brunel Street structure\u00a0has taken all that\u00a0traffic and more.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n25 years on, the red wire mesh cladding still creates a colourful and interesting feature when approaching the car park. On a sunny day, reflected light helps to give\u00a0it\u00a0an additional dimension creating both an opaque and translucent\u00a0fa\u00e7ade,\u00a0depending upon the angle of view.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe planter insets and balconies\u00a0are\u00a0still in use\u00a0and provide an interesting mix of colour and structure. Internally, the galvanized steel has developed a dark grey patina. Some structural beams look virtually\u00a0identical to when\u00a0they were first erected 25 years ago. In other areas the natural,\u00a0abstract shapes of zinc crystals within the galvanized coating have been revealed.\r\nA\u00a025 year\u00a0maintenance-free life has already been achieved at Brunel Street car park. It may not be over-optimistic to hope for at least double that.\r\nOver the last quarter of a century, car park design has entered a new era and the technology of parking has changed beyond recognition from the late-1980s and in this respect, many changes have taken place within Brunel Street. However, the simplicity and honesty of its original design still competes with its contemporaries.\r\n\r\nA\u00a025 year\u00a0maintenance-free life has already been achieved at Brunel Street car park. It may not be over-optimistic to hope for at least double that.