University accommodation rises to the top

DSC_4119The newest addition to Edgbaston’s skyline was officially topped out at a ceremony on Tuesday (April 28).

The University of Birmingham’s new Chamberlain residence, which comprises a 21-storey tower and three smaller blocks, has reached its highest point of construction, ahead of opening its doors to students this autumn. Friends and neighbours of the University were among guests who travelled to the roof of the building to see Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood lay the final area of concrete at the top.

The hall, which rises around 75m from ground level, will be home to more than 700 first year students at the University from this September, replacing the previous Chamberlain Hall tower which closed its doors in 2006. The tower, which was also known as Eden Tower and High Hall, was built more than 50 years ago and no longer provided the modern, 21st century student homes which the University desires for its students.

As the tower was removed, it left a noticeable gap on the landscape of Edgbaston – a gap which has now been filled by the new construction. Designed by Glancy Nicholls Architects and built by Balfour Beatty, the tower is a striking and elegant design, with the smaller blocks angled in such a way to open up views onto the Vale from adjacent Church Road. Previously, these views were hidden by the old halls.

Students who live in the tower accommodation will themselves benefit from stunning views of either the Vale, a grade 2 historic park and garden, and the University central campus or of the city, three miles away.

Lesley Stewart, director of residential and environmental services at the University said: “We have an on-going commitment to invest in our accommodation stock to ensure that students coming to Birmingham have outstanding homes to live in, to get their University lives off to a flying start.

“The redevelopment of Chamberlain is the latest project to come to fruition after many years of hard work to get it to this stage and I am delighted that we have reached this important point. The tower looks wonderful, and I look forward to welcoming the first residents of the new Chamberlain this autumn.”

Colin Harper, Project Director for Balfour Beatty said: “Today marks an important milestone in the construction of the new Chamberlain student residences, at the topping out of the 21-storey development. We look forward to continuing to work with the University of Birmingham and local community to deliver this state-of-the-art residence for students.”

Also at the ceremony was third year civil engineering student George Bence. George recently completed a placement on site at Chamberlain, giving him valuable real-life experience of working on a construction site. He said: “On day one I realised I had no idea how a site worked, now thanks to a brilliant team that I worked with I am now able to make a positive contribution. Having watched construction begin, and the tower rise out of the ground, it’s great to see it reach this milestone.”

Notes to editors

For further information please contact Kara Griffiths, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement manager (Estates Developments), University of Birmingham, on +44 (0)7812 671797