Life Sciences and Teacher Training building at BCU given the go ahead

27th November 2015

Sheppard Robson's designs for a major development at Birmingham City University’s campus in Edgbaston have been given the green light from the city's planners. The project will enable the education of a whole new generation of health, nutrition and biomedical science professionals.

The project will give the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences at Birmingham City University a collective identity by adding a confident piece of contemporary architecture on to its City South Campus which – both externally and internally – creates a coherent relationship with the current facilities. The existing structure will be reconfigured to ease navigation, linking new to existing via a covered courtyard, creating a single Faculty with one shared entrance, encouraging collaboration between the different disciplines that use the site.

The new wing will provide teacher training, specialist facilities for health professionals and life sciences accommodation including spaces for research, social learning, a new lecture theatre, a multi-purpose hall, speech therapy, physiotherapy and ultrasound suites, art classrooms, technology classrooms and IT suites.

The project is located in the Edgbaston Conservation Area and has been designed to fit appropriately within its sensitive setting. The external envelope is characterised by the use of red brick, which is a contemporary interpretation of the red-coloured bricks that are commonly found throughout the local context. The building is animated and given a distinctly modem feel through patterns of brick relief and recessed windows, which add a strong sense of geometry and rhythm to the facades.

A new public plaza leading to the main entrance is proposed off Westbourne Road. The building footprint is arranged around a retained class A mature oak tree. The area around the tree is landscaped to accommodate outdoor learning and teaching and recreational activities including level and tiered seating, eco-gardens and a pond area. Public access across the site is retained and enhanced by a proposed planting and lighting scheme.