Work has begun on the University of Wolverhampton’s new School of Architecture and the Built Environment at its £100m Springfield Campus. Representatives from the university were joined at a groundbreaking ceremony by main build contractors, ISG, members of the project team, and key partners.
The flagship facility was designed by Associated Architects and centres around the original clock tower building, combined with a strikingly large new-build element.
The 7,900 square metre build will use a mix of pre-cast white concrete, bronze metal cladding and glazing, and will be three storeys high. A sawtooth roof will echo the historic industrial buildings that stood on the site.
The project will contain 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.
When completed, it will provide space for nearly 1,100 existing students and 65 staff, with the number of students projected to grow 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.
A new National Brownfield Institute has also been earmarked for Springfield Campus.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer, said: “Developing Springfield is all about an ambition to make a difference by developing skills within the workforce around us, and also through regenerating what was once a derelict brownfield site. We have only got to this point through some great partnership working.
“We believe this development in the School of Architecture and the Built Environment will help provide a major step change in providing education to disciplines within this important sector. Not only that, it will seek to provide new ways of working and approaching key issues the sector faces, through innovative research and development work.
“Our vision is for Springfield Campus to be home to an unrivalled source of knowledge, research, innovation and expertise for the sector.”
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 be delivered in Spring-Summer 2020.
It will join the West Midlands University Technical College, which opened in January 2017, and the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills Hub, which was officially opened in November.