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The Grand Central Experience

The following are photographs taken on a recent visit to Birmingham.

The Grand Central experience began with a train journey into Birmingham arriving at New Street Station where the platforms are still undergoing their make over. It will be interesting to see the platforms when completed and whether they still have the cramped underground feel of old. Emerging from the platforms Grand Central opens up as a massive space with cafes and shops wrapping around its edges. The new entrance hall has most definitely created a greater sense of arrival to the city centre.

It is certainly no Santiago Calatrava masterpiece but is a massive improvement over New Street of old and the Pallasades shopping centre which formally occupied the space over New Street station.

It was disappointing to see ripples in the fabric stretched over the super structure rather than a smooth sinuous finish as originally intended by the concept architects Alejandro Zaera-Polo of AZPML. Only time will tell how this fabric wears. The lighting scheme also leaves a little to be desired with some rather glaring flood lights used to light the main hall and token LEDs lighting the edges of the roof structure.

Located off Grand Central is the New John Lewis store which as expected was filled with lovely products. The store follows the standard department store formula of retail floors wrapping around a large central atrium space. One exhibit that caught the eye was a classic Fiat 500 located with the De'Longhi coffee machines. A true classic with its compact proportions and elegant curves maybe one to add to the classic car wish list.

View of the entrance to the John Lewis store from the upper tier.

Interior view inside the New John Lewis store all geared up for Christmas.

A classic Fiat 500 on display in John Lewis its amazing just how tiny they are making modern city cars look massive.

A little something tasty to take home.

​A return visit is definitely on the cards to check out the exterior and explore how Grand Central connects with the surrounding cityscape.

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