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.
This year, the University of Birmingham are sponsoring the annual Selly Oak Festival on Saturday 10 June. Held at Selly Oak Park from 11:00 – 15:00, the Festival brings local people together from the surrounding communities, including the University, which sits alongside Selly Oak, with many of its students making this vibrant area their home. The fun packed day will boast activities for all ages including a children’s football tournament, fair ground rides, face painter, a BBQ and much more!
You can also come down and see the Green Heart team. 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.
Free family fun this weekend
I’m Fiona Woolston and I am the Community Relations and Public Affairs Assistant at the University of Birmingham. My role is incredibly varied; one day I can be liaising with a local MP or community group, the next I can be creating University VR experiences or developing content for digital channels and publications. I am also responsible for many of the day-to-day communications for the Green Heart.
If you read this blog, follow us on Twitter, browse our website or have emailed our Green Heart email account, you have been communicating with myself. My role is to ensure that you are kept up-to-date with the latest Green Heart developments, and have the opportunity to get involved and shape your space; remember the Paving Poll? Have you had a look at our video yet, it was great fun to make!
I am really excited to see the Green Heart come alive over the next two years. I am most impressed by the effort to create a natural and environmentally friendly landscape; for both people and wildlife. I cannot wait to see 160 new trees planted on campus and the huge array of flowers that will blossom, and all the wildlife that those plants will attract. I hope the Green Heart will successfully attract hedgehogs (as intended) as I have never seen one in the wild.
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
I’m Sam Williams and I am the Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager for major estates development projects on the University of Birmingham campus. And what could be more major than transforming 12 acres of land at the heart of a busy University campus?
Me and my colleagues in Communications and PR have been working hard to gather your feedback about the Green Heart in order to inform the plans; with the Green Heart Consultation Results released last week. We’re also pleased to share the latest project updates with you across our various communication channels including Twitter, our website and Intranet. We also organise Green Heart public engagement events and create resources so that you can get a better idea of what the Green Heart will be and get involved in its development.
The Green Heart project is hugely exciting and aims to bring numerous benefits to our campus community, transforming the experiences of our students, staff and visitors. I’m particularly excited about the new performance space! The surveys we ran told us that students, staff and visitors were all excited to enjoy outdoor performances of theatre, music and dance. So we’re planning a tiered grass auditorium to create a unique entertainment experience that’s free and open to all. I can’t wait to see the space bustling with activity in the sunshine in 2019!
The office robot probably won’t feature in the Green Heart
As you may have spotted on our Twitter feed, the UoB Green Heart team were at the University Annual Meeting (UAM) last week. On Thursday 9 March, we set up our stall to tell our internal and external guests from across academia, business, finance, charity, health and many more sectors, all about our stunning new parkland.
Armed with our Green Heart booklets and animation (to be publicly released soon!), we talked about the benefits the parkland will bring to both the University community, and our local community. The parkland will bring over 12 acres of natural space to one of the most urban cities in the country and give everyone the opportunity to get involved.
‘… everyone seems to think that you can only improve an area if you build more…it is great to see an organisation not building something and instead investing in green space’ – UAM guest
The way in which the University contributes to the local community was the highlight of the UAM, as the Vice-Chancellor launched the University’s Economic, Social and Cultural Impact report. Did you know that almost 1 in 50 jobs in Birmingham depend on the University, or that our teaching contributes £1.34 billion to the economy? You can find out more here.
As you can see, posing is not our forte.
Following extensive consultations since May 2016, the Nomad team have now signed off from the Green Heart project. The results of their consultations with staff, students and the local community, and how your ideas have shaped the Green Heart vision, will be released soon.
For the meantime, we in the UoB Green Heart project team would like to say a big hello! Our team are now responsible for posting and tweeting all the Green Heart’s exciting new milestones as we move closer to the beginning of development at the heart of the campus. We will be bringing you all the latest news and information about the project, and be giving you plenty of opportunities to get involved and continue to shape your space.
As well as this blog and the @uobgreenheart Twitter account, we also communicate on the following channels, where you can get the latest project information:
You can also contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to sharing this exciting time with you and transforming our campus for the 21st century and beyond.
Can’t wait to work with you all!
Welcome to the blog for the Green Heart project at the University of Birmingham. We are creating a striking new parkland in the centre of the University’s historic campus; transforming it for the 21st century and beyond. With work beginning in early 2017, the Green Heart will be completed in 2019.
Measuring over 12 acres, the Green Heart project will open up the centre of campus for students, staff and the local community to enjoy. It will provide a multiuse space for performances, events and markets, while opening up views across the whole campus, as envisaged in the 1920s. The space will also enhance the setting of those buildings which border the Green Heart, including the new academic Library which opened in September 2016. It will open up new pedestrian and cycle routes, allowing students, staff and visitors to the campus to move across campus with ease. There will also be areas to showcase the University’s art collections, as well as a new café and bar, and improved signage and access to information.
Meet, Work, Play
The new space will also be a sustainable, natural and environmentally friendly landscape; both for people and wildlife. The Green Heart will bring an array of wild flowers and native plants to campus. These have been carefully selected to encourage local species, and we will be incorporating nesting sites to attract wildlife including bats, swifts and hedgehogs. As well as lush grass areas, we will plant 160 new trees, across 42 species, and protect 144 existing trees. This tapestry of colour and textures will improve air quality, provide shade and create a place of serenity. Water features will also provide a relaxing audio backdrop, be a natural source of drainage management and further attract wildlife.
We’ve also appointed lighting experts to develop zoned lighting which will incorporate timber columns and energy-saving techniques to complement the natural environment. Carefully managed systems will enable us to keep campus safe and bright, while delivering an ambient environment and minimising light pollution or waste. We have also incorporated energy generating paving which produces power when people walk across it, and rain gardens, which will accommodate all rainwater on-site, thus doing away with conventional drains.
Be part of the Green Heart journey here.
UoB Green Heart team