Refurbishing the 1940s Old Gym for a new generation
- One of five projects Willmott Dixon has supported the University with
- Part of transformational campus redevelopment
- Repurposing old facilities to create new teaching and office space
The University of Birmingham’s Old Gym was originally earmarked for demolition in their campus masterplan. Its usage was reassessed and the demolition application removed. It’s now home to some new teaching and office spaces after our team carried out a £7m repurposing and refurbishment project with Associated Architects.
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The project’s aim was to convert the 1940s Old Gym into modern teaching spaces and new open-plan offices for the University to use while wider campus regeneration work continues.
Now complete, the Old Gym has provided 265 student spaces, notably an 81-seater, tiered lecture theatre and 90 open-plan desks across four floors. A two-storey extension on top of the previous gym area has been added to sympathetically enhance the useable space and now holds meeting rooms and consulting pods. The total internal area has been extensively expanded with breakout areas for each of the open-plan office spaces.
The project follows on from other recent projects for the University including the recently completed Green Heart, the Teaching and Learning Building, the School of Engineering and also the creation of a new data centre.
Peter Owen, managing director of Willmott Dixon in the Midlands said:
“We are delighted to have completed the refurbishment of this fantastic building, retaining its heritage and enhancing the University’s transformational campus.”
Warren Jukes, director, Associated Architects said:
“It has been fantastic to see this building brought back to life and we were very pleased to be given the opportunity to rescue a building of such interest. We look forward to seeing the new lease of life that the Old Gym will have, as both offices for University staff and student learning spaces.”
Purpose Beyond Profit
We are dedicated to leaving a positive legacy in our communities and environment, through the sourcing of local labour and products and, the work we do with local people and schools. Throughout the Old Gym project, we provided 17 weeks of work experience to local people as well as undertaking 125 school workshops about careers. Through such activities we were able to enhance the life chances of five young people.