MMU Birley teaching block completes

Manchester Metropolitan University's £139m Birley Fields campus was officially opened on Wednesday by Cllr Sir Richard Leese in front of 200 invited stakeholders [GALLERY].

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The development is part of a £300m investment from MMU to move from seven campuses to two, around Oxford Road and the Birley site.

Designed for 6,000 students and 500 staff, the 15-acre campus will include public gardens, accommodation for 1,200 students, and three retail units when all elements are completed in the coming months.

The main building is the 250,000 sq ft Faculty of Education & Health, Psychology & Social Care, designed by Sheppard Robson. The block includes three large atria, classrooms, cafeteria, sports facilities, drama studios and a health clinic. With a white glass panelled external shell, the building has been dubbed 'the sugar cube'.

Planning permission was granted for the scheme in June 2011 after Manchester City Council donated the land to the university for the development. The main contractor was Sir Robert McAlpine, with Capita appointed on the fit out, and student accomodation designed by Goddard Wybor Practice.

John Brooks, vice-chancellor of MMU, said: "This is a massive investment in Hulme not only in its physical environment but via many, many university projects with the community which aim to improve health, and wellbeing, raise educational aspiration and attainment and empower people at the grass-roots.

"We hope that the uniting force of education will make Birley a focal point for the community and redefine what a university can achieve with the people who live around it."

Cllr Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "Hulme has come a long way since the 1970s and this new campus is the final element of a long-term strategy of renewal and regeneration. It stands in every sense at the heart of the community and I commend MMU on their vision."

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Let us pause for thought and remember that this project was delivered by the architects who were awarded one of Britain’s most prestigious prizes this year: the Carbuncle Cup.

By the whalley ranger

Was this designed by Howard Roark?

By ayn r