The Old Gym and The Green Heart have been two very well received projects at the University of Birmingham in the last year. We are delighted that both have been added to the West Midlands shortlist for the RICS Social Imapct Awards 2020. They will compete in the ‘Heritage’ category and the ‘Land and Rural’ and ‘Leisure’ categories respectively.
The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in the autumn.
The Old Gym successfully converted a 1940s Gymnasium into modern teaching spaces and new open-plan offices for the university’s staff. It was important to retain some of the character features of the building, whilst improving the quality of spaces to improve the end users’ comfort. The building has provided 265 student spaces, notably an 81-seater, tiered lecture theatre and 90 open-plan desks across four floors; with meeting rooms and consulting pods on the two upper floors. The total internal area has been extensively expanded with breakout areas for each of the open plan office spaces.
The Green Heart restored the historic walkway between North Gate and Chancellor’s Court, as envisaged when the university was built in the early 1900s. It does this with a focus of the next generation bringing together the best of 21st century design. The space features comprehensive WiFi coverage, digital information totems, and a Pavegen walkway which will generate data and off-grid electricity for USB charging points in benches on the site. In addition, step-free access across campus is now much improved and paving has been specifically designed with tapping points for white stick users.