Selfridges’ store in Birmingham was created by the architects team Future Systems headed by Amanda Levete and her husband the late Jan Kaplický. It has the organic appearance of a giant mollusc covered in armour plating made of over 10,000 spun discs.

The first of these photographs date back to 2003, the year it was opened. The rest from 2005 when the weather was more varied. Some have dark oppressive black skies, some have bright blue.

Creating the Facade

The four storey building had a layer of concrete sprayed over it by a company called Shotcrete this short excerpt explains the technique…

Shotcrete created the outer structural shell of the building. The two layers of H12 bar also incorporated the Shotcrete ‘lost shutter’ system, allowing the structural C40 shotcrete to be built up in two layers. M12 sockets were cast into the structure to enable the fixing of over 10,000 steel discs giving the structure its iconic look.

The word Shotcrete has now turned into the name for the process too. It has been used extensively on contemporary architecture and even sprayed onto the underground tunnels of Crossrail – now renamed the Elizabeth Line.

Visit Selfridges’ website.

Refurbished for 2022

The store is being refurbished ahead of the Commonwealth Games, which come to Birmingham in 2022.

A local Birmingham artist Osman Yousefzada has designed a temporary cover called Infinity Pattern 1, for the building. He said he hoped it gave people a “message of hope”, adding he saw the work as an “uplifting installation”.

All the silver discs are being removed and stored, while insulation is installed.

For more details see the BBC website.

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