If you found yourself in Digbeth during July then you may have stumbled upon BM3 Architectures ‘Urban Labyrinth’, an exhibition exploring the changing face of Birmingham through photography and sound.
The purpose built exhibition, constructed entirely from recycled palettes sourced from the local area was part of the RIBAs 2015 ‘Love Architecture’ festival which celebrates architecture and the built environment throughout the summer with events to inspire those of all ages.
The team at BM3 designed and constructed a pallet pavilion in the yard of their Birmingham head office. The Urban Labyrinth structure was inspired by a quote from Architect Glen Murcutt who said that buildings should aim to ‘touch the ground lightly’; this led to the adaptable, temporary and light weight structure causing little interruption to the surrounding area. The shape of the labyrinth was created by mapping the routes that members of the team took from their homes to the BM3 office in Digbeth, part of these routes were then cut out, reconfigured and the angular road layouts softened to better reflect the natural pattern of walking through the city.
Once inside the Urban Labyrinth there are 3 areas for visitors to explore. The journey starts in the largest space where the story behind the labyrinth is explained along with the inspiration behind the design, visitors then move to the second ‘room’ which has been described by guests as a ‘hanging historical chamber’ where photos of Birmingham dating back to 1930 and present hang around you as you meander through. The final part of the labyrinth invites visitors to share their vision for the future of the Birmingham by leaving comments on large scale maps of the city and to connect with BM3 on social media by posing for ‘selfies’ in front of a large cityscape. In keeping with the locally sourced theme, Birmingham based photographers were invited to provide images for the photographic element of the exhibition. Verity Milligan, Tom Bird and James Benwell provided incredible images of the city which were mounted onto the bare brick wall of the BM3 yard, creating a rustic, outdoor gallery.
The exhibition ran for three consecutive weekends during July all of which were a huge success despite the unpredictable British weather. Members of the Urban Labyrinth design and construction teams were on hand to welcome guests and steward the event. On the last weekend BM3 Architecture ran a one off construction workshop for children, giving them the opportunity to build tall structures using only marshmallows and spaghetti. The children’s workshop drew in a large amount of families for the last weekend of the event ensuring that the ‘Urban Labyrinth’ went out on a high.
With the Urban Labyrinth exhibition complete be sure to keep an eye on the BM3 Architecture social media to find out about up and coming events.