Moss House

University College Birmingham, Birmingham

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The project is for the second phase development of the UCB’s new campus in the Jewellery Quarter and is part of the College’s strategic £100 million capital expansion in the heart of the city.

GHA won the competitive design competition and has been working with the College on the detailed design of the scheme which will provide approximately 13,000 sqm of new accommodation, including a Student Guild (Union), teaching and learning spaces, retail units, sports facilities, spa, restaurant and car park. The site is adjacent to the phase one development, McIntyre House, at the junction of George Street and Holland Street and replaces the old Lodge Cottrell building. 

The new red brick building, designed to celebrate the architectural heritage of the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area, will provide state-of-the-art student facilities including three lecture theatres, modern teaching spaces, a high-performance strengthening and conditioning suite for sports studies, a gym and an American-style student diner. The design pays homage to the industrial character of the area with windows that adhere to the conservation area’s visual hierarchy, with larger windows at lower levels being replaced by more refined, thinner windows on the upper level.

The ground-floor will house hired@UCB, the University’s careers, employability, apprenticeships and enterprise service; a large, relaxing “living room” featuring a coffee shop; and diner with a centrepiece pizza oven. The diner will look out over the courtyard, where there is outdoor seating. There will be a modern exhibition space on George Street for student shows and curated work, and for displays staged by local artists and craft workers.

The building’s central atrium will be flooded with natural light and comprise a central feature staircase with break-out seating, designed to promote interaction among the building’s users, a motif replicated throughout Moss House. Internal spaces will have a fresh, industrial feel, with exposed concrete columns, metal and glass. The finished wooden staircase will add warmth.

A 35-metre indoor running track, for speed and strength work, will overlook the courtyard on the third floor and form a central part of Moss House’s flagship sports teaching facilities. A new strengthening and conditioning suite, including a high-performance laboratory, will be used by undergraduates on sports therapy and sports science degrees. The top floor will also house a new gym, open to all students, facing George Street. 

Moss House is due to open in September 2019.

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