£40m Collaborative Teaching Laboratory welcomes first students

The University of Birmingham’s flagship £40 million Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) has welcomed its first students for the new academic year.

Built by Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure, and designed by architect Sheppard Robson, the state-of-the-art facility is set to transform the delivery of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education at the leading Russell group university.

The completion of the 72,120 sq ft building is a key milestone in the university’s plan to invest almost £500 million in its Edgbaston campus.

The CTL’s layout marks a move away from discipline-specific labs, with the aim of supporting a convergence of science and engineering based subjects, and fostering co-innovation.

Set over three storeys, the high-specification facilities include a dry lab, e-lab and wet lab, allowing students to experience the environments they’re likely to encounter in industry.

They will also be able to access the latest in virtual reality technology to support their learning.

A large event space on the lower ground floor, the Discovery Zone, has been designed to provide a visually-stimulating and interactive environment in which to showcase STEM subjects to a wider audience.

It will also be used to host business engagement activities, open days, and continuing professional development courses.

The front of the building is characterised by striking large angled brise-soleil made from gold anodised aluminium which projects over the main entrance.

The CTL has also been awarded the BREEAM Excellent standard and an EPC A Rating for efficiency.

Richard Fielding, Morgan Sindall’s area director in the Midlands, said:

“Universities in the Midlands need world-class laboratories and teaching spaces to compete on an increasingly-competitive international stage.

“The innovative design of the CTL sets a new standard for collaborative academic facilities and will enable a step change in the way STEM subjects are taught.

“It’s one of a number of significant projects we’ve worked in partnership with the university to deliver and everyone involved can be proud of the end result.”

Trevor Payne, University of Birmingham Director of Estates, said:

“We are very proud of the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory. It really epitomises our commitment to providing the very best academic facilities for our students. Beyond this, however, the CTL is a space that will not only support degree-related learning, but also prepare undergraduates for their professional lives, giving them an unparalleled student experience.”

Alex Solk, partner at Sheppard Robson, added:

“We are delighted to see this project come to fruition. The design of the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory offers students and staff opportunities to teach and learn in new collaborative and interdisciplinary ways.

“The quality of the design and completed building embodies the University’s commitment to providing the most innovative learning and research spaces to the student community.”

The professional team involved in the project included Couch Perry Wilkes, Faithful+Gould, and Curtins.

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