University opens up views lost for over 50 years

Green heart

The first glimpse of how a striking new parkland in the centre of the University of Birmingham’s historic campus could look has been revealed.

The image, by Churchman Landscape Architects who have been chosen to design the space, depicts the historic campus from North Gate, showing the view towards the Joseph Chamberlain memorial clocktower, the focal point of the site.

Measuring 365m x 135m, 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 working, while opening up views across the whole campus, as Sir Aston Webb originally envisaged when designing the original campus.

The space will also enhance the setting of those buildings which border the Green Heart, including the new academic library under construction on the western side of the space. It will open up new pedestrian and cycle routes, allowing students, staff and visitors to the campus to move between different areas with ease.

When the new library is complete, the existing library, which was built in the late 1950s, will be demolished. Detailed studies carried out on the existing library before a new building was decided upon showed it was not feasible to refurbish the existing library to the standards required to give students and researchers the 21st century facility they need.

The new library is scheduled to be completed in summer 2016, with construction of the Green Heart beginning shortly afterwards.

Lee Sanders, Registrar and Secretary at the University of Birmingham, said: “The Green Heart is unique – whilst we are investing in our estate and creating outstanding new facilities which will provide unparalleled opportunities for our students, staff and the community, we are also increasing the amount of green space we have on campus.

“But the Green Heart will be far more than a simple space – it will provide a place for a wide range of activities, to suit all needs, whether they be for work, for leisure or for relaxation. It will give us a stunning parkland where we are able to hold events and activities for the benefit of all. And, by opening up the views across campus once again, as imagined at the formation of the University, we continue to draw on our history whilst looking to our future and developing a campus for 21st century needs.”

Notes to editors

CGIs of the proposed image are available. For further information please contact Kara Griffiths at the University of Birmingham on +44 (0)7812671797.