Tower blocks demolished for second phase of £215m student village

Demolition of towers

Dalton and Lawrence Towers were reduced to rubble yesterday as work on the second phase of the £215m Aston Student Village development got off to an exciting start!

Over 100 Aston staff assisted DSM and the demolition team to ensure the works ran smoothly and to help evacuate the 1,500 affected students. An exclusion zone was in place across the campus, and nearby roads and footpaths were closed off. Students were able to watch the demolition in progress on big screens from the safety of Students’ Guild.

Lawrence and Dalton Tower demolition
Photo by www.edwardmoss.co.uk

8 lucky members of staff won a VIP ticket to watch the demolition from a roof top terrace at Matthew Boulton College.  

Wendy Overton (ARCHA, LHS) told Aspects: "I haven’t experienced anything like this before so hearing the very loud warning and then the explosions was surprising.  The towers seemed to fall in slow motion to me and was amazed at how quickly the dust settled - within eight minutes it was a clear and sunny view again. I absolutely loved it."

Kerry Bonehill (LIS) said: "I enjoyed being part of the team for such a unique event and also found it very exciting to witness it as it happened."

Luke Taylor (DARO) said: “It was a spectacular event, a unique chance to witness the end of an era at Aston. There was an eerie calm as I arrived, but anticipation and excitement soon grew in equal measure. The speed at which the demolition took place was striking (there were more than a few relieved faces when the cloud of dust diminished and the Main Building was still standing!). It was a special moment to see those two towers, each packed with the memories of generations of Aston students, return back to earth and forever change the Aston skyline.”

Dr Carl Scwalbe (LHS) added: "The demolition of Dalton Tower was particularly memorable for me since as a young lecturer I witnessed its construction."

Jane Winder (PVC Office) said: "What I will never forget is the wonderful billows of golden sun lit dust clouds which slowly thinned to reveal the Main building and a completely new view of campus."

The towers will now be replaced by new en-suite accommodation for 1050 students and a number of business units to help encourage investment in the City of Birmingham’s Eastside.

Click here to view BBC footage of the demolition

Were you there? Did you watch it? Use the comments facility below to tell Aspects what you thought!

Words by Alex Earnshaw and Louise Russell

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