2013 Attwood Award: City architect and urban designer Joe Holyoak
The award was set up in 2003 in memory of Thomas Attwood (1783-1856), one of the city’s first two MPs, who worked to extend the vote and promoted measures which would lead to full employment, peace and prosperity, including reform of the monetary system.
Though Joe Holyoak has served the city well in his professional and academic capacity as director of the MA Urban Design course at Birmingham City University until 2010, the award has been given for ‘going the extra mile – working ‘pro bono’..
One of the ‘Digbeth People’, with offices at the Custard Factory, he is described as a true friend of Digbeth, lending ‘a very helpful hand’ to Digbeth Residents Association with planning issues and regularly attending HS2 Community Forums and other planning meetings on behalf of DRA.
Joe is a member of the expert panel of MADE – an organisation dedicated to improving the quality of our towns, cities and villages, which believes that a high quality built environment is essential for economic prosperity and wellbeing.
His experience includes restoring and returning to use of good Victorian buildings and forward looking urban design. As a founder member of the citizens’ group Birmingham for People, he was involved in making counter-proposals for both the Bull Ring (1989) and Brindleyplace (1991) redevelopments. The People’s Plan for the Bull Ring was opposed to the developer’s proposal, and succeeded in changing the proposal substantially for the better over the next few years. In the case of Brindleyplace, there was less variance between the two. BfP’s plan was published before the developer’s masterplan of 1992, and was influential upon it to some degree, helping to shape this successful development.
A design retaining the wholesale markets on their city centre site
Joe Holyoak’s design, creating a new expansion of the city centre and including the wholesale markets in a new form, was presented by Dave Everett, co-chair of the outdoor market traders’ association and reported in the Birmingham Mail
This alternative design proposes that the present site is comprehensively redeveloped, creating a new expansion of the city centre, but including the wholesale markets in a new form. This can be done in such a way as to meet the objectives of the Big City Plan.