A new facility that will help students to understand every aspect of design will be opened at the University of Birmingham by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Sterling on Thursday 23rd March at 12.30pm.

The Design Centre, a light, bright learning and teaching environment situated in the School of Engineering, will be a one-stop shop for students from any University department to learn about design in relation to function and manufacture. It will also include facilities for representation that archaeologists will use to recreate objects from the past.

The vision for the Centre is that students will be able to sketch their design ideas, then create a computer (CAD) file and then manufacture a prototype as well as evaluate the ‘look and feel’ and performance of the product. Archaeologists will be able to build a picture of the past by recreating artefacts that no longer exist or cannot be handled by creating a 3D picture or model.

Dr Mark Jolly, Head of the Centre from the School of Engineering, says, ‘It is important for students to understand how crucial the design function is in the manufacturing process and to the end user. The Design Centre will enhance the student experience by providing a relaxed, stimulating environment that will encourage discussion and collaboration between students.

‘It is intended that anyone from any discipline who has an interest in design can use the centre’s facilities. For example, a civil engineering student could build a cardboard model of a bridge, scan it and create a file that can then be used to make a scaled model. Or an archaeology student can recreate an ancient vase or artefact by using scanning and modelling equipment.’

Professor Vince Gaffney, Director of the HP Visual and Spatial Technology Centre, says, ‘Culture and heritage in Britain is now worth more than £50 billion pounds per annum to the UK economy. In an increasingly visual society our future commercial success hinges on how we present and recreate contemporary society and past environments.

‘The Design centre is an exciting initiative to bring together Sciences and the Arts in an innovative, collaborative environment which can realise the full potential of our young designers. From 3D scanning to virtual worlds the designers of the future will use their skills not to reflect the world, but to form it.’


Notes to Editors

The launch of the Design Centre takes place on Thursday 23rd March at 12.30pm. You are invited to send a representative.

For further information

Kate Chapple, Press Officer, 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164 or Rachel Robson, Head of News, 0121 414 6681 or 07789 921165.