Membership from university and town has surged
Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands for University of Birmingham
Contract value: £35m
GIA: 13,205 m²
Cost per m²: £2,651
At a gateway site on the university’s Edgbaston campus, the client’s aspiration was not only for a sports centre for students and staff that was state-of-the-art but for one that would invite the local community too. Taking advantage of the sloping site, the architect has organised the large components of the brief (50m pool, multi-purpose hall, squash complex, fitness suites and a car park) in a coherent, legible layout that avoids becoming overbearing.
Smaller rooms are deftly incorporated into the building’s stepped section, which is used to open cross views between spaces. The building’s civic role is celebrated externally with brick facades and a portico flanking the pool that marks the campus boundary and guides the visitor to the entrance. The choice of brick gives the centre an immediate sense of place, avoiding the temptation to fall back on default steel and glass. Since opening, the centre’s membership from university and town has surged and is a fitting recognition of both the client’s and the architect’s vision.
Client of the Year sponsored by Tobermore