A new addition to Birmingham’s skyline, Moda, The Mercian becomes the city’s tallest residential tower 

Glenn Howells Architects’ Moda, The Mercian has recently been completed in Birmingham.

Developed by Moda Living, it is the city’s tallest residential tower and provides accessible homes with generous amenities in a central location.

The 42-storey building is situated on Broad Street, just five minutes walk from Chamberlain Square.

With the population of Birmingham growing, alongside a resurgent economy that is driving increasing amounts of international investment, there is a need for more well-connected housing in the city.

The project aims to cater for this influx, bringing a contemporary residential typology that promotes well-being and sustainable living through mixed-use, high-density principles. It comprises 481 new homes, from one-beds to three-bed family homes.

The building also incorporates a residents’ lounge, 24-hour gym, private dining room, cinema and games rooms, and a 200m running track set within 1,400 sqm of outdoor space on a rooftop terrace overlooking the city.

As part of a three-storey podium filling the site’s footprint, a frontage of flexible commercial units now meets Broad Street on ground level, transforming a previously underutilised space.

The podium is also home to a triple-height foyer and reception area, together with shopfronts and 489 cycle storage spaces.

The residents’ amenity offering is located atop the podium, providing a hub for social, wellbeing, exercise and entertainment, as well as panoramic views of Birmingham city centre.

Adjoining the open-plan lounge and communal areas are a cinema, kitchen, and private dining room, all available to book through a residents’ app, with a 24-hour gym and fitness studios.

The tall, slender proportion of the tower rising above the precast stone-clad podium is wrapped in a mix of bronze metal fins and glazed panels. This facade emphasises the verticality of the building form and references the former Timmins brass works once located on the site.

To reduce embodied energy, minimise site wastage and deliver consistent quality on a restricted city centre site, the facade was constructed from just over 3,600 unitised panels as well as many of the other key work packages including the bathrooms and utility pods that benefited from a prefabricated assembly with offsite manufacturing.

On the upper floors of the tower, a combination of one, two and three-bed apartments continue up to the 41st floor, where the three-bed penthouses are offered private outdoor terraces.

Designed as a 21st-century smart building, data on thermal comfort levels, Co2 and lighting conditions are automatically tracked in real-time and can be adjusted to meet standards and performance.

The technology also allows residents to monitor their energy usage and costs in real-time. Additionally, anonymous data on where their sustainability is ranked across the neighbourhood is shared to incentivise green behaviours.

The building operates 100% on renewable energy from wind, tidal and solar sources.