As 2017 draws to a close, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the huge progress that the Green Heart has made this year!
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their patience and support during this time of huge change on the University’s campus.
From July, we took the first steps to creating a stunning 12 acre parkland at the heart of our historic campus; hoping to restore a 100 year old vision, as well as provide facilities for the 21st Century. After our students completed their summer exams, work began to demolish the former library (which was completed in November) and soon the east side of University Square was cordoned off to begin landscaping. Aside from the beginning of the creation of the parkland, you have also helped shape your space by partaking in our paving poll, consultations and getting involved on social media! We have also been out and about meeting staff, students and local residents to show off our plans in 360 VR and creating a host of resources for everyone to use including the Green Heart animation.
The team will be back in 2018, when we can look forward to the completion of University Square!
We would like to introduce you to the team behind the scenes at Willmott Dixon making the Green Heart a reality. Willmott Dixon are one of the UK’s leading construction contractor specialists and are using their expertise to ensure that the creation of our new parkland goes smoothly. As well as making sure that progress on site continues as planned, the team have also joined University Green Heart colleagues at Open Days and other public events to answer all your questions. They are also coordinating some fantastic work experience schemes and school’s projects to inspire the next generation of constructors.
University of Birmingham Geography Student Eva Corley is interested in a career in Landscape Architecture, so when she got in contact with the Green Heart team, we put her in touch with our site teams.
Eva has been working with Chris Churchman from Churchman Landscape Architects for the last month, learning the tricks of the trade and developing her skills for a successful future career. She will continue her experience throughout her studies, having the opportunity to under tasks across a range of mini-projects and teams.
Eva and Chris immersed in landscape drawing
Chris will also set Eva up on her own project, redesigning one of the University’s lodge gardens! We asked Eva how she was getting on:
My experience so far working with the Green Heart team has been a fascinating insight into all the work going on behind the construction site. I have experienced the complicated process of undergoing such a large and prestigious landscaping project, including working with a landscape architect which will undoubtedly help me to pursue my career aspirations. Everyone has been very friendly and supportive which has given me confidence and motivation to keep working towards my goals.
Are you a UoB student interested in work experience with the Green Heart? Please email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what area of work you are interested in, and we will see how we support you in your career development.
Learning from the best
On 30 September, Willmott Dixon’s Green Heart Project Team stepped outside their normal roles to host the first site visit for Year 8 pupils from University of Birmingham School.
First site visit
The visit of 30 pupils is part of an enrichment programme developed by the Team as a Corporate Partner to UoB School. The programme is part of their wider community engagement delivered as the University of Birmingham’s Construction Partner supporting the work done by the University’s Team promoting the project.
The curriculum enrichment programme developed with the School uses the Green Heart as a demonstration project to introduce pupils to construction and the wide range of careers in the industry.
The programme of 5 weekly sessions will ultimately see 120 pupils introduced to the Green Heart Project, the Team and visiting the live site.
Members of the Willmott Dixon Team are taking the pupils through their roles and, using the animations and BIM, showcasing some of the less well known career opportunities offered by the construction industry.
Finding out about the Green Heart
The Green Heart Bridge has provided a great focus for project activities. Groups have designed; built and costed a bridge of their own and in the last week will come together as one team to build a full size bridge provided by the Institute of Civil Engineers.
Could you build and cost a bridge?
I’m Sally Xerri-Brooks, and I’m the Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager for major capital projects on campus. The Green Heart is one of the most significant areas I work on, so I spend a lot of time thinking about it and supporting its development. I do this by engaging with staff and students, as well as the local community. I work closely with the Estates department and contractors carrying out the all-important work to make the Green Heart a reality and I help make sure people know what is happening at each point in the project.
Every day I attend a range of meetings with key people across the University and across the city. I also get to go on site and see crucial bits of landscaping and building work as it happens, which I really enjoy. I make sure we have pictures and progress reports that I can share with everyone who is affected by the work.
I cannot wait for the Green Heart to be completed. One of the things I am really looking forward to is seeing the water features when they are in place. The consultation with staff and students told us that there was a real desire to get moving water onto campus to create flow and relaxation on campus. Ultimately, I’m looking forward to seeing the space used and people gaining holistic benefit from it. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.”
Last weekend the Green Heart team were out on the road at the Selly Oak Festival and the University of Birmingham Community Festival, spreading the word about the Green Heart transformation taking place on campus. We gave people the opportunity to be transported to 2019 with one of our VR headsets and explore the Green Heart from every angle. Among the ‘wows’ and gasps as the VR appeared before people’s eyes, we answered questions about the development and took more ideas on board.
Didn’t get the chance to see us? You can experience the Green Heart at home in 360 now! We’ve captured key areas of the Green Heart in 360 to allow you to explore your new space all the way from Old Joe, across to the Library and Arts Building, and up to the North Gate. Head to our website for the full experience. VR headsets are compatible with the images as well.
‘Can’t wait to bring a picnic’
‘Wow… What a great use of space’
‘It will be an oasis in the city’
As well as attending the Selly Oak Festival this Saturday, the Green Heart team will also be making an appearance at the University’s Community Festival on Sunday 11 June! Travel around the world with the University of Birmingham and get hands-on with our research discoveries locally, nationally and globally. With more than 100 FREE events and activities all over campus for the whole family, you won’t want to miss this year’s spectacular event. There’s something for everyone this year:
✓ FREE interactive talks, activities and live music
✓ FREE kid’s activities including soft play area
✓ FREE fun fair rides and circus performers
✓ Find out about studying and working at the University
✓ Indulge in treats from the farmers market and street food stalls
You will find the Green Heart team in the Aston Webb reception from 11:00 – 16:00. We will be giving you the opportunity to experience the Green Heart in 360 Virtual Reality before it’s even built! Be transported to 2019 with one of our VR headsets and explore the Green Heart from every angle, and take a walk through what the campus will become. Our team will also be on-hand to answer all your questions about the parkland, and you can get your hands on promotional materials including a pair of VR goggles to take home. Get a sneak peek of what to expect online now. We can’t wait to see you.