New construction excellence campus hits new heights at the University of Wolverhampton

The University of Wolverhampton’s £100 million investment in a new construction excellence campus on the site of the former Springfield brewery in Wolverhampton has reached another milestone.

Contractors, ISG, have now reached the highest point of the new School of Architecture and Built Environment which was designed by Birmingham based Associated Architects.

An official ‘topping out’ ceremony was held at the highest point of the building in front of the restored iconic clock tower which was built in 1922 and survived a fire which destroyed most of the former building in 2004.

Key stakeholders from around the region were in attendance to mark the occasion.

The 7,900 square metre build has used a mix of pre-cast white concrete, bronze metal cladding and glazing over three floors. An impressive saw-tooth roof echoes the historic industrial buildings tat stood on the site.

The new School of Architecture and Built Environment will offer specialist teaching and social learning spaces, design studios, specialist labs, multi-disiplinary workshops, lecture theatre, cafe, offices, meeting rooms, ICT rooms and a top floor super studio with double height ceilings.

It will provide space for nearly 1,100 existing students and 65 staff, with the number of students projected to grow over time to 1,600.

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.

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have reached yet another milestone in this new build project.

“Since the purchase of Springfield in 2014, the derelict site has been rejuvenated into a centre of excellence for construction and the built environment, delivering an unbeatable skills pathway for construction education and training from the age of 14 to senior professionals and acting as a catalyst for economic and social regeneration.

“The new School of Architecture and Built Environment is investing and growing to meet the demands of modern industry and our strong links with employers enable programmes to be developed to closely match their needs – this offers our graduates great employment opportunities upon completion of their degree course.”

Richard Perry, Director, Associated Architects: “This project is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when bringing together modern construction and historic building fabric. The re-purposing of this site has created a powerful piece of architecture, one that will act as a benchmark for future phases. It builds upon the rich heritage of Springfield, allowing the site to continue to develop and evolve, giving a renewed sense of place and identity. The design is a celebration of materials, daylight and space, that reflects the ambitions of the School of Architecture.”

Wayne Flannery, regional director for ISG said: “Creating an inspirational space for future generations of construction professionals to learn, share, innovate and develop new solutions to our built environment challenges is an immense privilege. Our partnership with the University, to enrich the current and future curriculum and student experience, has seen us capture a vast amount of data on the full construction process. This learning asset is another unique aspect of a project that is set to make a hugely influential legacy for our industry.” 

Mike Lally, Head of Project Management at RLB in Birmingham, added: “We have been project managers from the start of this complex scheme and it is a real credit to all the stakeholders that we are celebrating yet another project milestone. Supporting the delivery of this world-class educational facility that will have such an impact on the built environment is a real honour for the RLB team.”

Home to the West Midlands University Technical College, the University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment, and the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills, the regeneration of the former Springfield Brewery is central to the University’s vision of enhancing the student experience and supporting business growth. It will also be home to the University’s new National Brownfield Research Institute.

The new School of Architecture and Built Environment is due to open in September 2020.

Anyone looking to study courses at the new School of Architecture and Built Environment should check out the range of courses on the website.