George Clarke, whose latest series of Amazing Spaces returned to Channel 4 last week, has been presented with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technology from the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.
He praised the University’s plans to develop the Springfield Campus as an international centre of excellence for training in the field of construction including the West Midlands Construction UTC (WMUTC) and pledged his support for the initiative.
On receiving his honorary degree, he said: “It was fabulous when I was told I’d be given this award. I will help and support in every way that I possibly can to inspire the next generation of construction passionate people from the University.”
George said he had wanted to be an architect since the age of 12 and had been inspired by his grandfather. “My grandad was a grafter and a builder and he passed his knowledge, his passion and his experience on to me.”
Following the ceremony George visited the former Springfield Brewery site in Wolverhampton, which is being redeveloped by the University into a hub for construction education. The £70m project will transform the derelict site and become home to the University’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment, as well as the West Midlands Construction University Technical College.
On visiting the site George said: “The University has got great plans and ambitions to do lots more things for architectural and construction education. I think its brilliant the University has secured this site. To make something stack up economically and fund the purchase of something like this and then put funding in place to bring it back into use is just amazing.
“I’ve seen far too many breweries and historic sites being demolished and lost forever. This is a place that means a lot to a huge amount of people and the City of Wolverhampton.”
George also paid a visit to RAF Cosford in the afternoon to view a project the University is involved in with the museum to convert a VC10 aeroplane into a teaching space.
George is an ambassador for Shelter, Maggie’s Centres, The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community and City & Country Group – one of the UK’s leading restoration specialists. He is also patron of the Civic Trust Awards, established to recognise outstanding architecture, planning and design in the built environment.