UK de­sign award for ‘cheese grater’ con­ser­va­toire

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Tam­lyn Jones Busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

THE Royal Birm­ing­ham Con­ser­va­toire – once cru­elly dubbed a cheese grater – has won a pres­ti­gious na­tional award for de­sign.

The mu­sic school which opened last year was crowned the UK’s top ‘De­sign through In­no­va­tion’ project for 2018 by the Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors (RICS) at its an­nual na­tional awards.

The col­lege opened in Jen­nens Road in Septem­ber 2017 with renowned cel­list Ju­lian Lloyd Web­ber at the helm as prin­ci­pal.

But the build­ing’s de­sign di­vided opin­ion among city coun­cil­lors when first un­veiled in 2014, with one plan­ning chief liken­ing it to a cheese grater and an­other say­ing it re­minded him of an Oxo cube.

Royal Birm­ing­ham Con­ser­va­toire is owned and op­er­ated by Birm­ing­ham City Uni­ver­sity and was built to re­place its old home at Adrian Boult Hall which has been de­mol­ished as part of the £700 mil­lion Par­adise project in Cham­ber­lain Square.

It has teach­ing space as well a 500-seat con­cert hall and was was the first pur­pose-built mu­sic col­lege to be de­vel­oped in the UK since 1987.

Mr Lloyd Web­ber said it would be “the last one of its kind” when it opened last year.

The RICS Na­tional Awards in Lon­don brought to­gether re­gional win­ners cho­sen at 12 events ear­lier this year, to pick cham­pi­ons in eight cat­e­gories and an over­all UK Project of the Year.

At the RICS West Mid­lands Awards in May, the con­ser­va­toire won the De­sign cat­e­gory be­fore be­ing named West Mid­lands Project of the Year.

Na­tional RICS Awards judge Gor­don Chard said: “Com­plex and tech­ni­cally chal­leng­ing con­struc­tion projects need co-or­di­nated team work to de­liver build­ings of dis­tinc­tion to time and within bud­get.

“The con­ser­va­toire build­ing... in­no­va­tive is such a struc­tural, build­ing ser­vices and acous­tic treat­ments have achieved a world­class fa­cil­ity much sought af­ter for both teach­ing and live per­for­mances.

“The in­ter­nal rooms are iso­lated from the main re­in­forced con­crete frame and ex­ter­nally the build­ing de­sign is ex­pressed as three di­men­sional stacked and over­lap­ping acous­tic spa­ces.

“The con­ser­va­toire is be­com­ing the pri­mary lo­ca­tion for mu­si­cal study in the West Mid­lands with a grow­ing in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion.”

Gur­dip Chamba, chair­man of the 2018 judg­ing panel for the RICS West Mid­lands Awards, added: “The West Mid­lands has had an ex­tremely suc­cess­ful track record at the RICS Awards Grand Fi­nal in re­cent years.

“It is fan­tas­tic to see that once again projects from the West Mid­lands are be­ing recog­nised at a na­tional level.

“The re­gion has a lot to of­fer and the Royal Birm­ing­ham Con­ser­va­toire is yet an­other ex­am­ple of the di­ver­sity and world-lead­ing in­no­va­tive projects that we have to of­fer.

“The team be­hind this project should be ex­tremely proud as they have pro­vided a won­der­ful ed­u­ca­tional site for stu­dents, and vis­i­tors, from far and wide to use for years to come.”

The re­gion has a lot to of­fer and the Royal Birm­ing­ham Con­ser­va­toire is yet an­other ex­am­ple Gur­dip Chamba, chair­man of the 2018 judg­ing panel for the RICS West Mid­lands Awards

> The Royal Birm­ing­ham Con­ser­va­toire, in Jen­nens Road, East­side, was not wel­comed by all when it opened

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