University of Birmingham - The Green Heart
Creating a striking new parkland for the University of Birmingham
Our team in the Midlands have created a striking new parkland in the centre of the University of Birmingham’s historic campus!
Measuring over 12-acres, the Green Heart project opens up the centre of campus for students, staff and the local community to enjoy. It provides a unique space for performances, socialising, meeting and studying, while opening up views across the whole campus, as envisaged in the 1920s.
The space also enhances the setting of those buildings which border the Green Heart, including the new library which opened in September 2016. It opens up new pedestrian and cycle routes, allowing students, staff and visitors to the campus to travel safely and with ease. Throughout the design process, the project team have also sought to create a sustainable, natural and environmentally friendly landscape; both for people and wildlife.
A first for a UK university, we installed a Pavegen walkway (below) that generates data and off-grid electricity for USB charging point benches. The Green Heart also has comprehensive WiFi coverage and digital information totems.
Leaving a social value legacy
As always, our team are committed to leaving a legacy in the local community and have hosted students from the University of Birmingham School - the first school-based within a university and also created by us! As a corporate partner to the University of Birmingham School, we developed parts of an enrichment and community engagement programme. It introduces pupils to construction and to the wide range of careers within the industry and has gone from strength to strength in the last couple of years – now accredited by the Industrial Cadets, a scheme endorsed by HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
In the last year, the programme has been recognised for its excellence externally, winning at the Birmingham Post Business Awards. You can read more here. We also piloted The Prince’s Trust ‘Get Into’ programme, offering young people experience working within the construction industry to build their confidence. As well as this, we sponsored the GirlDreamer initiative to empower women and girls of colour through leadership development.
The University has also undertaken a wide public consultation to ensure local ideas are incorporated into the scheme these include:
- A range of wildflowers and native plants, 160 new trees, water features and nesting sites
- Space for markets, performances and events, including a grass auditorium and outdoor cinema
- A new café and bar
- Energy saving technologies, zoned lighting and energy generating paving
- Improved signage and access to information
- Dedicated areas for art, sculptures and the University’s collections
Peter Owen, managing director of Willmott Dixon in the Midlands said:
"We are delighted to be working with the University of Birmingham once again, creating this amazing parkland area for all to enjoy."
Images courtesy of Associated Architects.