Green light for University Collaborative Teaching Laboratory

The University of Birmingham has, this week, received planning permission to build a brand new laboratory facility and teaching space, as part of a series of exciting regeneration developments taking place on campus.

The £40 million state-of-the-art Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) to facilitate the teaching of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects will enable enhanced collaborative and interdisciplinary training and engagement. 

Birmingham CTL View02_Rev_B1

The new facilities will form a second phase of development with a purpose-built space on campus located between the Biosciences Building and the Learning Centre.  Trevor Payne, Director of Estates, said:The proposals we put forward have been carefully developed with students and teaching staff in mind, as well as considering how the interactive spaces could be used by schools and partners in the region. The visually stimulating, innovative designs reflect our approach to modern practical teaching for the next generation of scientists, engineers and technology entrepreneurs." 

The CTL will benefit from high-specification equipment and modern technologies, supporting informal inquiry and independent learning, serving the needs of a diverse community. The building will feature Dry, Wet and E-labs for use by different student groups at the same time, and a public engagement space allowing the University to showcase science and STEM subjects to a wider audience. 

Professor Jon Binner, Deputy Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences said: “This news marks an exciting new direction in the provision of science and engineering education. The Collaborative Teaching Laboratory will enable us to transform the way we teach practical classes through the use of cutting edge technologies, state-of-the-art equipment and increased opportunity for collaborative teaching."

The 72,120 ft2 building takes the shape of a robust brick structure, with variation in materiality and form to represent three different internal environments for dry, wet and computer laboratories. The front of the building is characterised by large angled brise-soleil made from gold anodised aluminium that project over the main entrance.

Alex Solk, Partner at Sheppard Robson architects, said: “The project has been designed to glue the departments together and encourage interaction between the different disciplines as well as between the University and other educational institutions. At the early stages of the project it became clear that co-location wasn’t enough; the design needed to proactively encourage collaboration with informal learning and teaching spaces interspersed with formal laboratories.”

This flexible space will provide opportunities for outreach, student recruitment, continuing professional development (CPD) and business engagement activities, and will strengthen new and existing links with key stakeholders, including industry partners, alumni and the University of Birmingham School.

At the heart of the project is the Discovery Lab – a large, public-facing space which can be used for collaborative projects, bringing departments together as well as used to invite schools into the facility to promote the sciences to younger students.

ENDS

For more information please contact Samantha Williams, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager, +44 (0) 121 414 3984.