Bournville College

Back in 2005 the Longbridge car plant in Birmingham closed down after over 100 years of production. Inspired by the opportunity to relocate to this historic 400-acre site, Bournville College appointed Broadway Malyan's specialist Education team to prepare concept designs for their new £66 million campus. The design addressed the complex issues of delivery of a Further Education building - supporting flexible learning models that need to quickly adapt to changing curricula; a varied curriculum including subjects as diverse as history to hairdressing; and different teaching methods such as conventional didactic teaching methods and more vocational training. In general, colleges require a large proportion of ground floor access, both for public access to cafes, shops, public libraries and also to cope with the logistics of delivery to workshop teaching facilities.

To overcome this at Bournville College, the team developed the building primarily in cross section - levels split and ramp up and down either side of a central spine, effectively creating two ground surfaces. Above this folded plane are shallow, naturally ventilated blocks for the academic faculties. The narrative was developed by an empirical analysis of the site, projecting the axial approaches to the site from east and west to produce an edge-condition that defined the perimeter. By rotating the eastern arm of this configuration a space was enclosed which would act as the heart of the college. This also articulated the characteristic 'lightning bolt' form. Changes in the Longbridge masterplan have now forced Bournville College onto an adjacent site, however we hope to test the value of this intellectual process and prove that not all of Longbridge's phoenixes have flown the nest.


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  • Teodora Todorova
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    Bournville College Bournville College Bournville College
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