£150M Birmingham City Uni plan gets the green light

Designs are under way to transform Birmingham City University under a £150m development plan, which got the go-ahead from Birmingham City Council last month.

Associated Architects was appointed last week as lead designer on the project, replacing BDP, and is working with BCU to identify ‘future design packages’, expected to include interiors, according to BCU assistant director of estates Peter Cochrane.

BCU appointed Birmingham consultancy Inside Information Design to the signage, wayfinding and navigation elements of the project last month, following an official public-tender process that only yielded two responses.

Despite this, says Cochrane, both consultancies went through a strict selection and scoring process, ‘just as if there had been ten groups’.

The brief for the contract, expected to be worth around £200 000 and yet to be finalised, is to design a holistic wayfinding and signage system for the new campus, that could include journey ‘pre-planning’.

Should Birmingham City Council approve this part of the project, key considerations underpinning it, says Inside Information director Tristram Woolston, will include the complex vehicle circulation within Birmingham city centre, as well as complicated pedestrian navigation routes.

Woolston says, ‘No one finds it easy to get from Birmingham city centre to the Eastside area. It is very complicated in terms of traffic and pedestrian circulation out of the city centre, so we have an overview to look at pre-visit planning and how to make the journey to the campus, as well as the internal circulation within the campus.

‘The campus will include public spaces, landscaped areas and dedicated teaching areas, so there will be many different levels of space. What we’re looking at is designing a hierarchy of wayfinding from the route planning to identification of buildings, to campus entry points right through to final destinations within the campus,’ he adds.

The signage component of the development will also have to take into consideration branding issues, such as the nomenclature of departments, faculties and its integration into the overall visual communications mix.

BCU launched its current identity, designed by BHMG Marketing, in October 2007.

The development will consolidate BCU’s 16 existing campuses into three, providing facilities for Birmingham Institute of Art and Design students, as well as students of other faculties.

birmingham strategy

• Birmingham City University’s new £150m campus will form the centrepiece of the city’s Eastside regeneration zone

• It will consolidate 16 campuses into three

• The new campus will include TV studios, a library, a concert hall, a performance theatre, a music recital hall, lecture theatres and a learning resource centre

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