100th anniversary extension for university

Following my earlier post on Dome to complete Redbrick heart about the planning application for a new music centre at The University of Birmingham being submitted, which would reinstate the missing dome in Chancellors Court, the planning application has been approved.

The approval comes on the centenary of the opening of the Aston Webb building and the Edgbaston Campus by King Edward VII on the 7 July 1909 and reinstates the missing dome in the Beaux Arts tradition of the adjoining domes. While Ingress Bell and Aston Webb's grand vision of six domed pavilion teaching blocks linked in a continuous facade with a central dome was never met the missing dome brings symmetry to Chancellors Court with two domes either side of the central dome and Great Hall. Sir Aston Webb is best known for the facade of Buckingham Palace and London's V&A Museum but in Birmingham Bell and Webb designed the Victoria Law Courts.

The design by Glenn Howells Architects will hold a 450-seat concert hall and include a Dome rehersal room which will be large enough to accommodate a symphony orchestra; http://www.egi.co.uk/Articles/Article.aspx?liArticleID=704638. The auditorium has been designed by acoustician Nick Edwards who is currently working on the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre and who worked on Symphony Hall.

“We are using a matching brick because they are no longer quarrying the original one. The building has to comply with modern standards, incorporating double-glazed, high-performance windows. It’s a building that, as you get close to it, will reveal itself as a 21st-century building in quite a subtle way.”One difference which has had to be incorporated is that the new pavilion needs to provide an entrance, whereas its existing counterparts only have windows. The whole complex is linked by a curving internal corridor.Mr Howells said. “It’s as though somebody has left work on the project in anticipation of someone else picking up the pen 100 years later.”http://www.birminghampost.net/news/west-midlands-news/2009/08/12/birmingham-university-launches-16m-music-project-65233-24377135/

The £16 million project has secured £3.6 million from friends and supporters of the university with £11 million being provided by the University with a public appeal being launched to raise the remainder for the project which is expected to open in 2012.

Images reproduced from Q&A with Glenn Howells on reinterpreting Aston Webb’s designs for Birmingham University By Will Hunter BD Magazine - Public Sector - July 2009 http://www.bdonline.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=3145387


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