Published on 17/03/2021
Image copyright Hawkins\Brown
Image copyright Hawkins\Brown
  • Iconic new building will provide work, teaching and social learning space as well as a ground floor public arcade
  • Part of an ambitious masterplan for Aston University campus
  • Flythrough view of planned new building

Plans for a new landmark building to provide work, teaching and social learning space at Aston University have been submitted to Birmingham City Council.

The inventively designed construction will also feature a ground floor public arcade.

The building represents the first stage of Aston University’s masterplan and long-term strategy to create a campus that offers an outstanding experience for staff and students, as well as bringing improvements to surrounding communities and the city of Birmingham.

The architects on the scheme are Hawkins\Brown, Hoare Lee, Price & Myers and Exterior Architecture (ExA).

Hawkins\Brown is one of the UK’s leading architects in the education sector and has worked on academic and research buildings for institutions that include University College London, the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester.

Ridge and Partners has provided project management services, with CBRE preparing the planning application and PMP Consultants providing cost management.

Ian Oldacre, director of estates at Aston University, said:

“Our ambitious campus vision sets out our aspiration to invest significantly in the delivery of a ‘destination campus’ to meet the changing demands and opportunities faced by universities.

“Aston University’s future growth will embrace evolving trends such as online and remote learning, greater connectivity, the growth in international students and closer collaboration with commercial partners and the business community.

“This new landmark building represents the first stage of our masterplan and long-term strategy.

“We have worked closely with our partners at Birmingham City Council to develop a building of iconic status, not only for Aston University, but for the city of Birmingham.”

Tom Noonan, partner at Hawkins\Brown, said:

“Our proposed design for this landmark building looks to serve as a dynamic new front door to Aston’s campus - an interface between the University and the wider city.

“It is designed as a building of two halves: civic uses are provided in the lower section which opens out onto a landscaped plaza, enabling new public routes to emerging districts such as Birmingham's knowledge quarter.

“Above this plinth is a more playful lantern which contains learning spaces and academic offices. The dynamic and visually striking lantern offers roof terraces where the floorplates shift and is designed to deliver new types of flexible spaces for the University well into the future.”


Notes to editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world. The University also has TEF Gold status in the Teaching Excellence Framework. 

About Hawkins\Brown

Hawkins\Brown is an architecture practice based in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Los Angeles. Founded 30 years ago by Partners Russell Brown and Roger Hawkins, the firm brings a collaborative approach to projects across a range of types and scale in six main sectors: civic, community & culture; education; workplace; transport & infrastructure; healthcare and residential.

Hawkins\Brown is one of the UK’s leading architects in the education sector and has worked on academic and research buildings for institutions that include University College London, the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester. The practice also engaged on a number of school building projects, with completed buildings that include a network of five new schools for the London borough of Southwark, an innovative co-location of homes with a school for Hackney Council and a number of buildings for the City of London Corporation. 

The practice is currently working on a variety of academic buildings throughout the country, including a new Creative Arts Building for Leeds Beckett University, a Student Centre at Queen’s University Belfast and the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building at the University of Warwick.

Hawkins\Brown’s recent awards in the sector include: an RIBA National Award for the Beecroft Building for the University of Oxford, an RIBA London award for Ivydale Primary School in Southwark and Refurbishment of the Year in the 2017 Education Estates awards for the Bartlett School of Architecture .

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sue Smith, head of press and communications, on 07816 788663 or email

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Sue Smith, Head of Press and Communications
    0121 204 3521

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