Landmark ‘lantern’ university building gets green light

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Plans for a ten-storey landmark building at Aston University have been given the green light.

The 12,000 sq m building’s ground floor will be open to the university community and public, with social spaces and a café.

On the upper floors, the building will offer teaching and learning facilities, and academic workspace.

This includes flexible lecture theatres, seminar rooms and study spaces.

Tom Noonan, partner at Hawkins\Brown, said: “This landmark building will serve as a dynamic new front door to Aston’s campus – an interface between the University and the wider city.

“It is designed as a building of two halves: civic uses are provided in the lower section which opens out onto a landscaped plaza, enabling new public routes to emerging districts such as Birmingham’s knowledge quarter.

“Above this plinth is a more playful ‘lantern’ which contains learning spaces and academic offices. The dynamic and visually striking lantern offers roof terraces where the floorplates shift and is designed to deliver new types of flexible spaces for the University well into the future.”

Ian Oldacre, director of estates at Aston University, said: “Our ambitious campus vision sets out our aspiration to invest significantly in the delivery of a ‘destination campus’ to meet the changing demands and opportunities faced by universities.

“Aston University’s future growth will embrace evolving trends such as online and remote learning, greater connectivity, the growth in international students and closer collaboration with commercial partners and the business community.

“This new landmark building represents the first stage of our masterplan and long-term strategy.

“We have worked closely with our partners at Birmingham City Council to develop a building of iconic status, not only for Aston University, but for city of Birmingham.”

Hawkins\Brown was appointed to design the building following a competition in 2019 and leads a consultant team that includes Price & Myers, Hoare Lea and Ridge & Partners.

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