Work starts on new School of Architecture

Preparatory work has started on the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the £100m Springfield Campus.

Planning permission was granted in April and now specialist contractors have started work on site to prepare it for construction to start.

The original scheme was altered after pre-construction works on the historic site discovered structures of some of the original buildings were not viable so could not be incorporated into the plans.

Great Barr-based The Coleman Group has been appointed to carry out the work which includes demolition and remediation.

The new design for the School by Associated Architects aims to keep as much heritage as possible and add stunning new buildings which reflect the site’s historic industrial surroundings. Designers have worked closely with conservation specialists, planners and Historic England.

The iconic clock tower building will be restored and a new building wrapped around it. At its heart will be a naturally lit open atrium spanning three floors, covered by a glass roof lantern.

The 7,900 square metre build will use a mix of pre-cast white concrete, bronze metal cladding and glazing. Inside the building there will be specialist teaching and social learning spaces, design studios, specialist labs, multi-disciplinary workshops, lecture theatre, café, offices, meeting rooms, ICT rooms and a top floor super studio with double height ceilings.

Outside will be a landscaped piazza and courtyard linking the new School together with the rest of the site and the historic outer brick façade will be retained.

When completed, it will provide space for nearly 1,100 existing students and 65 staff, with the number of students projected to grow over time to more than 1,500.

The School will specialise in supporting skills in architecture, construction, civil engineering, building control, building services, facilities management, quantity surveying, planning, construction management, housing and commercial. It will also house a brownfield research centre.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Jackie Dunne, who is the University’s project lead for Springfield, said: “It is great to be on site and seeing the project moving forward. With the preparatory works under way we can start looking towards the main build getting under way in the autumn.

“Once complete it will be a fantastic addition to the city. Springfield is a key strategic project for the University and we are committed to realising the vision of the site and the part this will play in regenerating Wolverhampton.

“This is the biggest and final part of the first phase of Springfield’s redevelopment and one of the biggest capital projects we have ever undertaken. Once complete it will offer an unrivalled built environment hub and centre of excellence which will be among the biggest and best in Europe.”

The plans for the School of Architecture form the largest part of the first phase of the £100m redevelopment of the site to create the Springfield Campus. The aim is that it will still be delivered in the 2019-20 academic year as planned.

It will join the West Midlands University Technical College, which opened in January 2017, and the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills Hub, which will open this year.

The 12 acre Springfield Campus will be a centre of excellence for the built environment, construction and high value manufacturing to be delivered by the University and its partners.

The tender has also gone out to market for a construction partner to act as the main build contractor for the site and it is hoped work will start in the early autumn.

The scheme is being project managed by Rider Levett Bucknall. The design team is also made up of conservation advisors Rodney Melville & Partners, mechanical and engineering by Couch Perry Wilkes, quantity surveying by Faithful and Gould and structural and civils engineer Atkins, which will also provide landscape architecture.

For more information about the Springfield development visit www.wlv.ac.uk/springfield.  Click here for the full article.