Upper Mall East


Birmingham B5 4BP

United Kingdom


Future Systems (Jan Kaplicky & Amanda Levete) 2003


This Birmingham-based department store is a truly remarkable example of a notion called blobitecture. Its form escapes the usual structure of edges and walls into a curved and rounded sculpture, one could even call organic. Not only its unique shape and aluminium facade discs, but also the location right on the edge of city center between the rail and bus stations, make it instantly noticeable in Birmingham's skyline.



The building is situated just by St Martin's church in Bullring shopping area, which creates this kind of awkward relationship between the historic sight of faith and more current but also glorious temple to consumption. Inside you can find an impressive criss-cross of white escalators around the main atrium, surrounded by approx 25,000 m2 of retail store area. What is more, on the top floor, the building is joined with a parking lot on the opposite side of the street through a walking tunnel, which makes it look as if it has a tongue sticking out of it.



Selfridges Birmingham has been designed by Future Systems studio, which has recently split into two separate practices. It received numerous awards for innovative design including the RIBA Award for Architecture in 2004 and has been featured as one of 100 stores to visit in the world by Retail Week magazine every year since its opening. An unfortunate sudden death of Jan Kaplicky, one of two partners involved in designing the building, surprised the architectural body in January 2009.



Some other notable examples of blob architecture are The Sage, Gateshead and Kunsthaus Graz in Austria.


Wojtek Gurak 2009




How to visit


The store is usually open between 10am – 8pm, but more detailed information can be found on its official web site at


The store is located in Birmingham’s city centre about a 2-minute walk from Moor Street Rail Station, 5-minute walk from New Street Rail Station and about the same distance from the Digbeth Bus station south of Selfridges.




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