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Competition: Berrows House, Worcester

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The University of Worcester is recruiting an architect for a major retrofit and overhaul of a 4,200m² former printworks and newspaper office

The team selected for the estimated £180,000 contract will transform the 1965 Brutalist structure, designed by Austin-Smith Salmon-Lord Partnership, into a ‘inspiring, flexible and modern’ teaching facility for the university.

The Hylton Road project will restore the two-storey complex – currently home to Worcester News and other local newspapers – and integrate it into the university’s wider Nicholas Hare Architects-designed Severn Campus which focuses on healthcare and sports.

In its brief, the university says: ‘The architectural approach to the refurbishment must be one where flexibility is key; the ability to repurpose rooms easily is essential to meet the ever-changing demands placed on a university estate. The university expects the redevelopment of Berrows House to be of the same high quality, practical, fully accessible and sustainable standard as the buildings recently developed by the university.’

Worcester is on the banks of the River Severn around 50km south-west of Birmingham, and is home to around 100,000 people. Its skyline is dominated by the 12th-century cathedral and the former spire of St. Andrew’s Church. During the medieval era it was a major hub for cloth manufacturing and by the 18th century it was England’s preeminent centre for glove-making. The city centre was comprehensively redeveloped during the 1950s and 1960s.

The university first opened in 1946 on a former RAF base. It has 10,095 students and 700 staff across two main campuses. BDP won a contest for the university’s £90 million City Campus on the site of the former Worcester Royal Infirmary opposite Austin House 12 years ago.

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios completed a competition-winning £40 million library and history centre, The Hive, for the university in 2012. In 2016, Nicholas Hare Architects was chosen to design a 5ha student accommodation complex for the university and to masterplan its new Severn Campus next to the Roberts Limbrick-designed University of Worcester Arena and Riverside Buildings.

Cardiff practice Ashley Davies Architects – working with GWP Architecture – transformed a Grade II-listed disused furniture showroom into a new ‘Art House’ for the university last year.

The university recently bought Berrows House from local news publisher Newsquest. The complex will be vacated this summer and is set to open to students in September 2021.

The winning team will develop the scheme up to RIBA Stage 3 prior to the appointment of a design-and-build contractor. Planned flexible and inclusive facilities include a 300-capacity lecture theatre, a 50m² studio, consultation rooms, seminar spaces and offices.

Bids will be evaluated 80 per cent on quality and 20 per cent on cost. Interviews will be held on 13 January and the deadline for applications is 3pm, 13 December.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Joe Stock
University of Worcester
Henwick Grove

Email: j.stock@worc.ac.uk
Tel: 01905542647 

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