With the Commonwealth Games coming to the city this summer, Birmingham is gearing itself up for the major sporting event, with some help from 14 converted shipping containers.
The containers will be located in the Perry Barr area of the city, close to the main athletics venue at the Alexander Stadium, with four of these being converted to host big screens for fans to watch the action, the Birmingham Mail reports.
Others will be used to provide facilities such as tables for those watching the screens, as well as parking and cycle storage spaces.
The scheme is part of what could eventually be a park of 86 converted shipping containers in Galey Park on Walsall Road, using the space that had originally been earmarked for the Athletes’ Village. The containers initially installed for the Games will be supplemented by another 72, with options including single or double units. The containers will be 30-40 ft long.
Designed to be in place for seven years, the venue will also feature a public stage with a capacity of 1,500 people, a children’s playground and a marketing suite.
The project is not officially part of the Commonwealth Games plans, but as a leisure and commercial hub, it could play a role in longer-term ambitions to redevelop the Perry Barr area of the city as part of the district’s 2040 masterplan.
Most of the Games venues are already fully in place, with the Alexander Stadium set to gain extra capacity from temporary stands built for the event, while Edgbaston Cricket Ground will host Women’s Twenty20 action and indoor venues like the National Indoor Arena and National Exhibition Centre will stage events such as netball, table tennis, weightlifting and gymnastics.
However, while new venues may not be a priority, the city has been using the raised profile of the games to seek new investment and with other developments like the arrival of HS2 in the pipeline, Birmingham will hope it can enjoy a revival in much the way Manchester has since it hosted the 2002 Games.
That could mean many more developments around Birmingham using recycled shipping containers, not least in underdeveloped areas outside the city centre.
While that might include food outlets, shops and even community facilities, few might be more high-profile than containers used to focus attention on the sporting contests taking place all over the city and the West Midlands region in July and August.
The containers might not be officially part of the Commonwealth Games, but the same cannot be said about those being used during another major sporting event this year.
Stadium 974 in Doha will be one of the venues for this year’s football World Cup, with the name being drawn from the fact that it was made with 974 re-used containers.
This extraordinary and novel venue contains 40,000 seats and will host seven games. However, when the tournament is over it will be dismantled and the containers will find new uses while the waterfront site where it stands will be redeveloped.