Birmingham’s public buildings were once the laughing stock of the UK: an overly brutal collection of concrete that was more an urbanista’s utopia than a user friendly city. But not no more. Our civic architecture is now a source of serious and well-deserved Brummie pride. Let’s see how far we’ve come.

The Rep

The-Rep-low-resAlways a looker, but showing its age after hitting 40. That all changed last year when the building (which won a RIBA prize in 1972) got a total makeover and linked up with the library to now offer three theatre spaces and beautifully light public areas to mingle in style.

The Library

BirminghamLibrarylowresWhat a corker! With an amphitheatre, kick-ass main entrance lobby and spiral staircase, a great café, films, talks, magnificent views and wonderful secret garden, Birmingham now has Europe’s largest public library, and possibly the most beautiful one to boot.

The Bull Ring

Selfridges-Bull-Ring-low-resFrom eyesore to icon, and then some. Futuristic indoor and outdoor walkways and boulevards; iconic architecture; the beautifully reimagined St Martin’s Square and some of the UKs foremost retailers and restaurants, in a glittering display of all round fabulousness.