This Live/Work Warehouse That Starred in Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” Lists for £2.75M

This Live/Work Warehouse That Starred in Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” Lists for £2.75M

By Kathryn M.
The RIBA award–winning factory conversion in Birmingham, England, features a 35-foot atrium.

While the city of Birmingham in central England doesn't always attract attention for its architecture, an impressive factory conversion by local developer Javelin Block caught the eye of both RIBA judges and superstar director Steven Spielberg. The nearly 9,000-square-foot space—which was featured in Spielberg's sci-fi film Ready Player One and used to launch Ed Sheeran's hit album—offers three self-contained residences, an artist’s studio, and an office space, along with vast entertaining areas. 

Renovated in 2012 by local development firm Javelin Block, The Compound was awarded a 2017 Conservation Award, along with two other accolades, from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The design was also shortlisted for the prestigious Stephen Lawrence Prize.

The multilevel main residence encompasses an expansive, ground floor living/dining area and kitchen set underneath the building's original steel structure. The property has also been used as a rental venue, hosting corporate clients, in addition to Spielberg and Sheeran.

The property's developer and current owner, Stuart Holt, worked in partnership with BPN Architects to transform the vacant building into a multiuse live/work space. "When I set out to redesign and reanimate this warehouse, it was for me and my stuff," he says. "I had no idea that it would resonate so strongly with people."

While Holt's collection of antiques and artwork fill the space, it's the building's original features that command attention—from a 35-foot-high atrium to exposed steel beams and brickwork. The renovation sought to retain as much of the structure as possible, including an industrial facade that is marked only by a nondescript garage door.

"Eight years ago, if someone had of told me Steven Spielberg and Ed Sheeran would have filmed in my living room, I'd of laughed at them," Holt adds.

A long kitchen island was custom made with elements inspired by the form of a welder’s bench.

The triple-height interior is divided in the middle by a wall of steel-framed Crittal windows and doors, which BPN Architects added to delineate public and private spaces.

Holt was also adamant that local craftsmen and tradespeople play a role in the redevelopment, helping to design bespoke pieces and finishes. Other details were reclaimed from various sources, such as old prison doors and copper lights that once illuminated the cabin of a submarine.

"It's been important to restore and reanimate a lot of these amazing buildings," Holt recently told the Birmingham Daily Mail"With something like the Compound, I don't think you are ever the owner. I just think it's time to pass it on to somebody else."

The property is currently listed for £2,750,000 (approximately $3,655,000) with some furniture available as a separate purchase. Keep scrolling to see more of the interior—including the basement speakeasy and 25-seat cinema that Spielberg used as a screening room during his time on set.

Remnants from the textile factory were retained as a nod to the structure's industrial past.

The principal bedroom looks out onto the mezzanine and atrium area below.

The bedroom walls are clad in reclaimed timber.

A look at the private bathroom.

The upper level of the warehouse is intersected by a series of walkways and bridges that connect the residences and workspaces. A vintage elevator occupies a corner.

A look at one of the other residences, which currently doubles as an artist's studio.

A full kitchen is located on the opposite side of the residence, while another workspace is located down below.

A spiral staircase leads back down to the atrium.

A look at the speakeasy-style entertaining area in the basement.

The plush home theater features tabletop lights that were salvaged from an old submarine. 

The vast interior is topped by two gabled roofs, complete with massive skylights for natural light. In addition to offering income opportunities as a rental venue, the large atrium provides off-street parking and space for indoor recreation.

The Compound, located along Water Street in Birmingham, England, is currently co-listed for £2,750,000 (approximately $3,655,000) by The Modern House in partnership with Savills.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: BPN Architects

Developer: Javelin Block / @javelinblock

Contractor: Springworth

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