Fatima Ladak // Presentation Feedback & CoLAB reflection

Following both presentations to the Mosque and Birmingham City Council members in mid December, the clients and the Council members responded quite positively to certain areas, specifically the idea utilising parking for multiple uses in order to generate a source of income and the possibility of underground parking to save space. However, some members did question the potential costs and length of time to undertake some of the sketch schemes we put forward. The primary concern is short term, the Mosque members want to implement a quick fix system to alleviate pressures on the parking availability, rather than produce a long-term vision that will capture its original intent of a ‘landmark’ structure.

As expected, cost became a major discussion point, the original budget of £5million will not of course be sufficient enough for schemes involving large amounts of excavation or ambitious reconfigurations of the existing aesthetics. The Mosque members emphasised that it will be difficult to generate sufficient support from the majority of the congregation in order to raise additional funds to take part in a RIBA competition (costing roughly £50,000). Although this number seems substantially low in comparison to the original budget, unfortunately, it seems the mosque most probably will not go ahead with the competition unless donations are received or the RIBA agree to relax the entrance fee (extremely unlikely). This of course reflects the client’s lack of understanding about the process, differing significantly to the thought process of our academic members of staff.

Overall, working on a collaborative project has been extremely informative, learning to work as a team as well as taking on board requests and information from the clients and the council has seen to be constructive as well as difficult due to everyone’s differing schedules and individual ideas and visions. The design process changes when working with other members as each member has their own input, therefore, the final outcome has been completely altered from the original thoughts. However, having worked at on placement last year, these obstacles were completely expected and as a group we have managed to overcome most of the issues smoothly by delegating work efficiently.

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