That’s probably not how the architects behind the £750 million redevelopment of Birmingham New Street station had hoped it would be received.
But it’s exactly the way Grand Designs TV host Kevin McCloud described it.
The best bit is that a top British architect then hit back at his comments and insinuated McCloud was a southern imperialist. Ouch!
All very Eastenders but with more refinement.
Personally, I was more intrigued and, dare I say, sceptical, by what Philip Singleton, CEO of the charitable trust Millennium Point, had to say about the station revamp.
He said: “People criticised the skin of the new Selfridges and criticised the skin of the new Library of Birmingham, but these buildings are so much more than just their exteriors.”
“The outside of New Street may be an acquired taste – but so is fine food.”
I’m not an architect but that doesn’t sound promising to me. Is he basically relying on the mere-exposure effect? Correct me if I’m wrong.
You can read the media report about the whole thing here: Birmingham Mail.
The story got me thinking about blog post ideas for architects. What are some of the ways a story like this can inspire your content marketing?
Let’s have a look.
10 ‘Tawdry Railway Station’ Inspired Blog Post Ideas for Architects
For these ideas I’m using the McCloud story as the primary source of inspiration. However you can use any architectural news story and adapt the ideas in a similar manner. First begin by discussing the news story and then follow through with one of the following 10 ideas.
Here’s what I came up with during a brainstorm:
1. If you’re a Midlands architect write an analysis of the redeveloped Birmingham New Street station and what you think of it. Do you agree with McCloud or do you vehemently disagree and think he’s cocking his leg up the wrong tree?
2. Compile a list of your ‘favourite’ architectural disasters that have befallen your country. You can get your architectural team to submit their favourite disasters as well. What might the architects have been thinking?
3. How does your architectural practice dissuade clients from making errors in judgement when it comes to the design of new buildings? Describe your consultation process and examples of how the architect really does know best. Or, does the client know best? What do you think?
4. Have your team worked on old railway redevelopment projects? If so, write about the projects and bring out some drawings and photographs as you describe the thinking behind the designs.
5. “The outside of New Street may be an acquired taste – but so is fine food.” – Do you agree? Should good architecture rely on a little time to get used to? What previous building designs were unpopular when they were first unveiled but are now much admired? Is the philosophy sound and should your clients think that way?
6. Are you a Midlands architecture practice? Showcase some of your favourite buildings in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Why do you like them? What are your design team’s favourite buildings? You can make this into a blog series.
7. McCloud also described the revamped station as “still a poor infrastructure for human beings” (BBC) – What do you define as poor infrastructure for people? Focus on residential and/or commercial building design principles you think are wrong, out-of-date or need a little modifying.
8. Kevin McCloud hosts a weekly Channel 4 series called Grand Designs. Develop a weekly podcast or video chat where you interview a fellow professional, or group of professionals. These can include fellow architects or they can be town planners, structural engineers, interior designers, landscapers, construction company managers and even previous clients. Comment on weekly architectural stories and designs that will interest the lay person, particularly your target market. Also answer common questions clients ask.
9. Do you have a love of old steam engines? Write a post from the heart about your childhood standing on bridges and railway station platforms watching the old steamers pass by. Recall the sounds, sights and smells. But also incorporate your views on the developments of station architecture or how steam engine technical designs have maybe influenced some of your work.
10. How would you design the perfect railway station? It can be an imaginary location or a real one based on a news story. Describe the station as you’d design it and even sketch out some quick drawings of how it would look.
Some of these ideas will connect with you. Others might seem silly. The whole point is to provide that one great idea for your next blog post.
Have I sparked something? Let me know in the comments section below.
And whatever you do, don’t make your architecture practice blog ‘tawdry, dull and dirty’.
That would just be awful.
Creative Commons image attribution: Birmingham New Street sign from David