Aston University Engineering Academy provides an inspirational learning environment for 14-19 year olds in the heart of Birmingham City centre, on a recently vacated inner city site.
The 600 student Academy will have close links with the University and other education and industrial partners. It is intended to be a showcase for engineering skills and to provide a stepping stone for pupils from school into the industry. With this in mind, FCBStudios designed a building that resembles a place of work more than a traditional school building, with materials, colours, artwork and textures all selected to reinforce this ambition.
The compact new building brings together a range of facilities over four floors, arranged around a central hall and atrium. The school is divided into four ‘home bases’ for students with a linked learning resource centre and dining spaces.
Due to its location next to the busy Dartmouth Middleway road, the Academy is often seen from a moving vehicle. The team designed the external façade of the building to make the most of this viewpoint, accentuating its horizontal lines with cladding and a ribbon of windows that wrap around corners and break down the overall volume of the building.
The Academy was procured under the tight financial constraints of the Birmingham ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme, and successfully handed over to the client in September 2012.
2013 RIBA Regional Award: Winner