International design competition launched for new Markets at Birmingham Smithfield

  • 12 Jun 2019
Lendlease has begun the search for designers who will play a key role in one of the most high-profile city-centre regeneration opportunities in Europe. Markets have been at the heart of Birmingham since the birth of the city, and the brief is to imagine a market building for the future. A place that builds on the existing energy and spirit of the markets by mixing in new ingredients and spaces to delight the existing communities, whilst attracting and entertaining new visitors. 

Lendlease is Birmingham City Council’s preferred development partner for Smithfield and the markets are central to the City Council’s Big City Plan, a 25-year vision to support the development of a world-class city centre. The markets will provide the backdrop for a new injection of colour, atmosphere, culture and vitality into the heart of Birmingham, accelerating the next wave of growth and regeneration in this youthful international city.

Located in the heart of Birmingham, the project is set to reposition the city on an international stage. As well as a new markets building, the Smithfield development will deliver a significant family leisure and cultural offer, a new public square, integrated public transport and more than 2,000 homes with a public park and community facilities.
Jonathan Emery, Managing Director, Property, Europe, Lendlease, said: “The markets at Smithfield are very special and we are seeking the very best team to help deliver a truly remarkable outcome. Wonderful and diverse markets exist in many of the great cities around the world. By opening this competition globally, we are inviting talent from around the world to share their experiences and influences.”

Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for innovative designers from Birmingham, across the UK and overseas to work on creating one of the key elements of a landmark development, which will bring jobs, opportunities and inclusive economic growth to this city. 

"This is the next exciting chapter for a market that has been part of the Birmingham story since 1166, and I have no doubt that this competition will result in a truly outstanding market for future generations."

Waheed Nazir, Director of Inclusive Growth at Birmingham City Council, said: “This competition is a key milestone as we move forward in the delivery of Birmingham Smithfield. This is about much more than simply creating a new market building – it will be about reimagining the retail markets, establishing a vibrant mix of uses and exciting new spaces as the centrepiece of the transformational redevelopment. The successful designer will be tasked with turning this vision into a reality.”
The competition will run in two stages:
  • Stage one is an open call for expressions of interest from designers with the ability to rise to this challenge. 
  • At stage two shortlisted designers will be invited to take part in a mid-tender ‘charrette’ with local stakeholders, as well as an interview with a Jury Panel.
The RIBA Stirling Prize winning architect, Amanda Levete CBE, has agreed to join the jury panel that will interview shortlisted designers. Amanda is the founder and principal of AL_A, an international award-winning design and architecture studio, which has refined an intuitive and strategic approach to design. Projects recently completed by the studio include the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter (2017) in London and MAAT (2016), a Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon. 

Interest in the competition is being encouraged from international and UK-based designers, whether they operate in large organisations or smaller ventures, or are coming together as a collaborative team for the project. The search will be for people with the ability to become design leaders for the project, alongside the demonstration of creativity and a passion for creating places for people. 
For more information and to see the detailed brief please visit:


For further information please contact:

Andrea Klettner, Senior Communications Manager, Lendlease, Europe
Phone:  +44 (0)7843 413674
Becky Endacott, External Communications Manager, Lendlease Europe
Phone: 07725200928
Jonathan Edwards, Head of External Communications, Lendlease Europe 
Phone: 07753581086
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