A Birmingham university has revealed plans for a striking ‘lantern’ teaching block as the first phase of a major campus expansion.
Aston University is proposing to develop a new building which will have work, teaching and social learning space as well as a ground floor public arcade (see fly-through video above).
It is part of a wider masterplan by the university to upgrade its campus and benefit surrounding communities.
A planning application has now been lodged with Birmingham City Council to redevelop the site at the corner of Woodcock Street and Lister Street near the Sacks of Potatoes pub.
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The land is now largely disused following the relocation of the students’ union.
Ian Oldacre, director of estates at Aston University, said: “Our ambitious campus vision sets out our aspiration to invest significantly in the delivery of a ‘destination campus’ to meet the changing demands and opportunities faced by universities.
“Aston University’s future growth will embrace evolving trends such as online and remote learning, greater connectivity, the growth in international students and closer collaboration with commercial partners and the business community.
“This new landmark building represents the first stage of our masterplan and long-term strategy.
“It will bring activity back to this key interconnect of the campus, linking future developments and a clear route to Lister Street and access to the north of the city.
“We have worked closely with our partners at Birmingham City Council to develop a building of iconic status, not only for Aston University but for the city of Birmingham.”
The design team has been led by architecture practice HawkinsBrown whose previous work in the education sector includes projects for University College London, University of Oxford and University of Manchester.
Partner Tom Noonan said: “Our proposed design for this landmark building looks to serve as a dynamic new front door to Aston’s campus – an interface between the university and the wider city.
“It is designed as a building of two halves. Civic uses are provided in the lower section which opens out onto a landscaped plaza, enabling new public routes to emerging districts such as Birmingham’s knowledge quarter.
“Above this plinth is a more playful lantern which contains learning spaces and academic offices.
“The dynamic and visually striking lantern offers roof terraces where the floorplates shift and is designed to deliver new types of flexible spaces for the university well into the future.”