New landscaping phase to begin

Progress on the Green Heart is advancing fast. University Square is now complete and looks glorious in the sun; have you enjoyed your lunch yet on one of our swanky new benches?

The next vital piece of work to commence will focus around the Art Buildings to enable the team to repave the pathways and former car park in this area.

From Saturday 14 July to Friday 21 September, pathways between Muirhead Tower (R21) and the Arts Building (R16) will close. There will be no public access along these pathways and as a result, building access from these pathways will also be closed. Alternative routes will be clearly signposted throughout the works. This construction has been programmed to commence after degree congregations in July 2018 and be completed before Welcome Week in September 2018.

The map below outlines the alternative routes during these works and further details can be found here. If you want to get in touch with any questions or concerns that you may have, please email us at greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

PF2770 Green Heart - Muirhead - Alternative Route - 3D

All alternative routes will be clearly signposted 

Celebrate good times!

To celebrate reaching 1,000 followers on the University of Birmingham’s Green Heart Twitter account, the team are offering our followers the chance to get behind the scenes at the University of Birmingham’s most ambitious estates project.

Join us from next week for a free, exclusive tour, behind the hoardings of the University’s 12-acre parkland. Find out how we’re building a new space centred around you through innovative landscaping and architecture before we open at the end of this year.

There are four tour slots to choose from but, you’ll need to book up fast before spaces go!

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Get behind the scenes

Developing the library terrace

With the opening of University Square in May, work to complete the Green Heart by late 2018 – early 2019 is progressing quickly. Over the next few weeks work will commence adjacent to the library terrace to connect the Square and library to the rest of the Green Heart. We hope these works will take a few weeks to complete over the summer. During this time we will be:

  1. Removing the bamboo area and creating a compound so works can take place safely.
  2. Laying new paving around the steps but, one side of the steps will always be accessible and the ramp will remain open during these works.
  3. Replacing the ramp (once step 2 is completed) with an accessible pathway that connects to the Green Heart.

Once we’re done, this new area will provide additional terrace space alongside a connected and fully accessible pathway. If you have any questions, or comments during these works, please contact us on greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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Improving your library terrace

University Square reopened

Since August 2017, University Square has been partially closed for redevelopment as part of the Green Heart project. First the east side, and then the west side. This week, we reopened the entire Square for staff, students and the local community to enjoy.

The redeveloped Square includes new lighting and benches, as well as wider, flood-proof pathways suitable for pedestrians and cyclists. We hope the new system of pathways will also ease congestion in this popular space on campus. To make the area environmentally friendly for people and wildlife, we’ve planted 13 new trees in the Square, to accompany the existing 38, which include Oaks, Limes, Redwoods and a Tulip Tree. The Square also includes the University’s first rain gardens and a variety of plants and grasses.

For a little while the Square will look a bit empty, but please bear with us. Grass reseeding is now underway, as well as additional planting, and we hope with good weather, this will flourish very soon… just in time for summer! Work will now continue on the former library and North Car Park site with the aim to open the entire parkland in late 2018 – early 2019.

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A new view on campus

Reducing disruption during the exam period

Exams are fast approaching and we are committed to ensuring that disruption is minimised between now and the beginning of June. Working with Willmott Dixon, we have implemented a series of actions that should reduce disruption as much as possible.

  1. We deliberately programmed the noisier and more disruptive work to be completed before the start of the Summer Term (e.g. the bridge). Now that term has started, quieter works are now taking place.
  2. We have relocated noisier activities, such as slab cutting and concrete mixing, away from the centre of campus and key exam spaces. For noisier work that has to take place in the Green Heart, we are installing acoustic booths around that work to reduce impact.
  3. We will be working at all times to keep things as quiet as possible, but we are also focusing specifically on exam times themselves. Using the exam timetable, we are ensuring that there is particular care taken to keep disruption minimal while each exam is taking place.
  4. We are also installing sound monitoring stations around the perimeter of the Green Heart site. This will warn the team if the noise reaches certain levels, and a protocol is in place to reduce noise straight away if needed.

We’re continuing to work with the exams office to respond quickly and effectively to any issues raised by students or staff during the coming weeks. If you have any questions or concerns about the Green Heart during this time, please contact us on greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

Finally, from everyone in the Green Heart team, we’d like to wish our students the very best of luck in their exams.

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Good luck to all our students from the Green Heart team

Second phase of Green Heart begins

The transformation of the first phase of University Square is now complete. Our onsite teams continued to work through the cold, snowy condition over the last week to ensure that work remained on schedule. The redeveloped space, on the east side of University Square, has had new lighting, benches and pathways installed, as well as the first of 160 new trees across the Green Heart.

Now, until June, the second phase of University Square will be transformed. Temporary pathways and ramps are now installed where appropriate and disabled access has been maintained. These new routes are highlighted in red on the map below. Areas marked in green will be under construction and inaccessible to the public. The hoardings will be removed in June and University Square will be fully accessible once more.

Our commitment to staff and students is to ensure we provide timely and accurate information about what changes are to come, and what alternative routes are best to take around campus whilst construction is taking place; including disabled access.  This will be done in a variety of ways, including signage on campus, Twitterblog posts and the Intranet; all will be regularly updated.

If you have any questions about the changes, please email the Green Heart team at greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk and we will be happy to help.

PF2770 Green Heart - University Square Phase 2 - from 19 February 2018 v...

Find your new route

Second phase of University Square transformation to begin

The transformation of the first phase of University Square is now drawing to a close, and will be completed by mid-February (weather dependent). Since August 2017, the redeveloped space has had new lighting, benches and pathways installed, as well as the first of 160 new trees across the Green Heart.

In the coming weeks, the section of University Square closest to Staff House will be gradually cordoned off and temporary hoardings will be installed by mid-February (weather dependent). Temporary pathways and ramps will be installed where appropriate and disabled access will be maintained. These new routes are highlighted in red on the map below. Areas marked in green will be under construction and inaccessible to the public. The hoardings will be removed in June and University Square will be fully accessible once more.

Our commitment to staff and students is to ensure we provide timely and accurate information about what changes are to come, and what alternative routes are best to take around campus whilst construction is taking place; including disabled access.  This will be done in a variety of ways, including signage on campus, Twitterblog posts and the Intranet; all will be regularly updated.

If you have any questions about the changes, please email the Green Heart team at greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk and we will be happy to help.

PF2770 Green Heart - University Square Phase 2 - from 19 February 2018 v...

Get to know your new routes now

Green Heart progress steps up a gear

Progress on the Green Heart is about to step up a gear over the next 2 weeks, so we thought we’d give you an update, so you are clued up on what is to come.

The Green Heart team from Willmott Dixon are hurtling towards the completion of phase 1 of University Square. The paving is being completed, new benches are in position, timber lamp columns are going in and topsoil has now been placed ready before the start of phase 2 mid-February.

Most excitedly, a delegation from the site team and designers are heading over to Ireland for a factory visit to check on the quality and progress of the pre-cast bridge which will sit in the parkland. Meanwhile, preparation for the bridge’s arrival continue; we are currently reinforcing and waterproofing the services ‘subway’ that forms the foundations for the bridge and café in front of Muirhead Tower. Watch our animation to see where the bridge will be placed. Finally, at the north of the site, the removal of surplus soil to form the amphitheatre continues.

Elsewhere on campus, the skyline has a new addition, a huge tower crane behind the Old Gym. It was put up last weekend, and when the rigging is complete, will be ready for the next stage of the project extending the upper floors over the sports hall roof.

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That’s one big crane!

New arrivals

This week saw the arrival of new benches as part of phase 1 of the Green Heart. The benches have been installed on the patterned paving circles, nicknamed ‘hubs’, along the new pathways currently being laid; find out how you helped to pave the Green Heart here.

The benches have been made by a small manufacturer in Sheffield, Bramhall 1840 Ltd, to a bespoke design for the Green Heart. They also include integrated LED lighting underneath the seats to enhance visibility at night. The inclusion of increased seating areas and improved lighting were both suggestions which arose through the University’s consultations prior to the project’s launch.

For the meantime, the benches have been covered by blue wrappers to keep them safe. We are also gearing up for phase 2 of University Square’s transformation, which will begin later this month, as materials such as benches and stone begin to arrive onsite.

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These look comfortable!

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All wrapped up and safe

Improved accessibility in University Square

The first phase of Green Heart development in University Square is well underway, and will be completed in February. We will then landscape the area of University Square closest to Staff House. During this time old pathways have been changed or removed, and new pathways have been created. Thanks to your feedback, we have improved accessibility in University Square.

  1. We’ve added a new pathway that runs along the current hoardings, which means you don’t have to go all the way around to get from one side of University Square to the other.

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Get from A to B quicker

2. We’ve added more vinyl pads across grass areas, which means you get less muddy and there’s less congestion in this area.

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No more wading through the mud

3. We’ve added a new pathway across the cobbled entrance to University Square, making it easier for those with specific accessibility needs to travel in this area and gain access to the ramp.

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No more cobbles

We can continue to make changes with your help. If you think accessibility could be improved further in specific area, please get in touch at greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk and we will get to work.