Universities Centre approved for Birmingham

A new facility on the Innovation Birmingham Campus will provide work and training spaces for higher education professionals

Planning permission has been granted for the AHR-designed Universities Centre on the Innovation Birmingham Campus. Construction is expected to begin soon, with occupation expected in September 2016.

The building will deliver leading-edge digital services and training spaces where SMEs can create and develop links with Birmingham’s five universities.

The Universities Centre is the second building of five new developments planned for the Innovation Birmingham Campus. AHR’s inventive design provides new accommodation on top of an existing podium, which incorporates the sites car parking.

The building has been divided into several key spaces:

  • Creative studio and flexible working zone
  • Purpose-designed space for training sessions and events
  • Structured office space
  • Ancillary service areas

The building’s rectangular form is designed to be prominent at the approach into Faraday Wharf and enhance the existing building’s setting. It will also complement Innovation Birmingham’s adjacent and soon to be completed iCentrum building.

The Universities Centre will be elegantly clad in a combination of metal cladding and glass. A rhythm of floor to floor glazing distributes daylight evenly throughout the internal spaces. Part of the façade is envisaged as a ‘sleeve’, which wraps the building in a solid metal-faced cladding.

AHR designed the Universities Centre following the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) award of a £2.49m Local Growth Fund grant for the capital project in June 2015.

The Innovation Birmingham Campus is currently home to 130 digitally-focused companies, covering specialisms including coding, software, software as a service, digital gaming and low carbon technologies. This new funding will promote local university engagement and collaboration with business start-ups and SMEs, creating an estimated 1800 jobs.

Karle Burford, AHR Director, said: “We are pleased to complete the design for this next phase of development at the Innovation Birmingham Campus. The building will facilitate innovative working practices and the building’s simple form will enhance this use.”

Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham, said: “The building has been purpose-designed by AHR to stimulate far greater interaction between Birmingham’s five universities and the city region’s burgeoning community of start-ups and SMEs. There will be a full programme of activity that is delivered from this new facility as soon as it opens in September, which will contribute to Birmingham’s Smart City agenda.” 

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