At the northern end of the Vale Village, the skyline changed dramatically between 2014 and 2016, as we built a brand new hall of residence comprising a new tower and three low rise blocks to form the new Chamberlain.
The landscape was dramatically changed when the 50-year-old Eden Tower was removed at the start of 2014. Previously known as High Hall, the tower, and its associated blocks of Hampton and Chelwood wings were demolished after studies revealed it would be uneconomic to refurbish them and would not provide the quality of accommodation which the University of Birmingham desires for students.
The new hall, which welcomed its first students in September 2015, provides a home for 725 students on the Vale in either en suite study bedrooms in clusters of five or six sharing a kitchen/lounge or self- contained studios. The new 21-storey tower’s ground floor is home to social spaces including catering and social facilities, and other amenities including a launderette. A brand new Tex-Mex themed restaurant, JCs, opened in 2016.
Students who live in the tower accommodation benefit from views across the Vale, a grade 2 historic park and garden, whilst those on the very upper floors will enjoy vistas across the city. The three low rise blocks have been designed to sit at an angle to maximise views into the Vale both from the accommodation itself but also for passers-by and residents along Church Road which sits at the top of the Vale.
In April 2015, the new tower was officially 'topped out' after reachings its highest point. University Director of Residential and Environmental Services Lesley Stewart is pictured below with University Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood and Colin Harper, Project Director at Balfour Beatty at the topping out.
Work will also soon begin on the construction of a brand new hall of residence and a new sports pavilion near the Grange Road gate, to join the construction of the new Chamberlain Hall.
These latest projects to begin construction will be built in the south west corner of the main campus, where the Selly Oak New Road has created a long and narrow site running between the road and the Bourn Brook on the boundary of campus.
There will be space for 178 student bedrooms in the new residence, arranged in 34 flats housing between four and seven people each and including 11 wheelchair accessible rooms. The design of the new residences are bright and modern, with communal spaces at the corners of the buildings to allow residents to benefit from views towards campus and Selly Oak.
The plans also include a new sports pavilion and changing rooms for people using the nearby Bournbrook pitches and a café and bar which will overlook a new plaza fronting the entrance to campus.