Regenerated brownfield building named best project

11 March 2021 

The new £45 million School of Architecture and Built Environment (SoABE) at the University of Wolverhampton has been named by framework provider Pagabo as its ‘best project above £15m’.

The School of Architecture and Built Environment’s award was one of nine given by the national framework provider at the first Pagabo Awards held virtually earlier this year.

Pagabo helps public sector organisations across the UK by providing framework agreements and bespoke consultancy, delivered and backed up by a team of Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (MCIPS) qualified procurement professionals.

The new building, delivered by ISG, is the latest addition to the University’s £120m investment in a new construction excellence campus at the former Springfield Brewery site in the city. Procured through Pagabo, the project completed last year to rave reviews. Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said on handover: “This is a momentous occasion for the University and the culmination of a vision which has transformed a derelict piece of land into a magnificent place of learning and research which will change the way people view brownfield regeneration.”

Project lead Liam Davies, who is a graduate of the University, attended the virtual ceremony to collect the award on behalf of ISG. He said: “There are some projects that hold a special place in your heart, for me SoABE is the culmination of over 25 years of personal learning. To be able to create a home for the next generation of construction talent in the Midlands is a privilege and one that I will carry with me for the rest of my career. The blend of new and modern has been perfectly balanced as part of the project and is a great teaching example for students learning how to integrate buildings into the environment they inhabit.”

Jason Stapley, managing director at Pagabo, said: “We were really pleased to recognise this scheme in the first Pagabo Awards, thanks to ISG’s excellent delivery of the scheme, which was procured via our Major Works Framework for the university. It is quite fitting that the former brownfield building has been transformed into the university’s School of Architecture and Built Environment for the construction experts of the future to learn their trade.

“A huge congratulations to those directly involved for delivering a project that showcases award-winning site regeneration and longevity. We are encouraged by this collaboration and hope that this investment in the education sector with the university is to be replicated in the future.”

The 7,900 sq m build used a mix of pre-cast white concrete, bronze metal cladding and glazing over three floors. An impressive saw-tooth roof echoes the historic industrial buildings that stood on the site. The new School of Architecture and Built Environment offers specialist teaching and social learning spaces, design studios, specialist labs, multi-disciplinary workshops, lecture theatre, cafe, offices, meeting rooms, ICT rooms and a top floor super studio with double height ceilings. It provides space for nearly 1,100 existing students and 65 staff, with the number of students projected to grow over time to 1,600.

The school specialises in supporting skills in architecture, construction, civil engineering, building control, building services, facilities management, quantity surveying, planning, construction management, housing and commercial.

The Springfield redevelopment project is being project managed by Rider Levett Bucknall. The design team is also made up of conservation advisors Rodney Melville & Partners, mechanical and engineering by Couch Perry Wilkes, quantity surveying by Faithful and Gould and structural and civils engineer Atkins, which will also provide landscape architecture. Associated Architects have designed the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills, the School of Architecture and Built Environment and the National Brownfield Institute (NBI). Delta Planning have worked on the NBI planning application submission.