Green Heart

A striking new parkland in the centre of the University of Birmingham’s historic campus will be created following the completion of the new Library in September 2016. With work beginning in early 2017, the Green Heart will be completed in 2019.

Artist impression of the Green Heart

Measuring over 12 acres, the Green Heart project will open up the centre of campus for students, staff and the local community to enjoy. It will provide a space for performances, socialising, meeting and studying, while opening up views across the whole campus, as envisaged in the 1920s. The space will also enhance the setting of those buildings which border the Green Heart, including the new academic Library which opened in September 2016. It will open up new pedestrian and cycle routes, allowing students, staff and visitors to the campus to move between different areas with ease. 

The Journey 

From November 2016, work began to create the Green Heart, beginning with the demolition of the former library. The former library will be taken down from June/July, and should be completely dismantled before Welcome Week in September. The construction of the Green Heart will take place over three stages: the North Car Park and University Square Phase 1 and 2. Build work in the North Car Park will commence from June, with plans to complete University Square Phase 1 during summer 2017 and Phase 2 during summer 2018. The planned schedule for the completion of the Green Heart is 2019. All necessary planning has been taken to reduce disruption on and around campus during this transformation. Watch the journey unfold on our Green Heart webcam below.

For more information on what to expect, visit our FAQs and planned build schedule

Webcam

The Green Heart’s Green Credentials

It may have ‘green’ in the title, but just how green will the Green Heart be? Throughout the design process, the project team have sought to create a sustainable, natural and environmentally friendly landscape; both for people and wildlife. 

The Green Heart will bring an array of wild flowers and native plants to campus. These have been carefully selected to encourage local species, and we will be incorporating nesting sites to attract wildlife including bats, swifts and hedgehogs. As well as lush grass areas, we will plant 160 new trees, across 42 species, and protect 144 existing trees. This tapestry of colour and textures will improve air quality, provide shade and create a place of serenity. Water features will also provide a relaxing audio backdrop, be a natural source of drainage management and further attract wildlife. 

We’ve appointed lighting experts to develop zoned lighting which will incorporate timber columns and energy-saving techniques to complement the natural environment. Carefully managed systems will enable us to keep campus safe and bright, while delivering an ambient environment and minimising light pollution or waste. We have also incorporated energy generating paving which produces power when people walk across it, and rain gardens, which will accommodate all rainwater on-site, thus doing away with conventional drains.

Get Involved 

From May 2016, the University undertook extensive consultations in collaboration with Nomad RDC Ltd. These were undertaken to thoroughly understand the needs of our staff, students and local community to make sure that the new space is centred around you. Thank you to everyone who gave their views and ideas. Your suggestions have now been explored and incorporated into the Green Heart. Here are just some of the ways your ideas have shaped the vision: 

  • A range of wild flowers 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

Read the full Green Heart Consultation Results and keep up-to-date with the project as it develops, and get involved, by following us @uobgreenheart and reading the Green Heart blog

For more details, please email greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

Artist impression of the Green Heart