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Concert Hall, University of Birmingham by Glenn Howells Architects

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[FIRST LOOK] This 450-seat concert hall - plus space for teaching and research - is to be built on the University of Birmingham’s redbrick campus

The auditorium, with its associated research, teaching and rehearsal facilities, will house the Department of Music and will complete the redbrick semi-circle of buildings which have been the heart of the University since 1909.

Professor John Whenham, head of the university’s department of music, said: ‘The auditorium will provide a wonderful space in which the university’s rehearsals and concerts can take place. It will be unique in Birmingham in its size, adaptability and audience capacity and will provide facilities from which not only the university, but also local community users can benefit.’

Professor David Eastwood, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: ‘Professor Edward Elgar, the university’s first professor of music, paved the way for our long musical tradition in which music plays a major part in the fabric of the institution and its relationship with the world. Music enriches the lives of many and we recognise the importance of widening access to something that can bring such joy.

‘The new building which will finally complete the original architectural vision of the university, will provide our outstanding music department with a much-needed permanent home that befits its international standing and benefits all participants involved in the University of Birmingham’s inclusive music-making and performance.’

Other resources include the Dome rehearsal room, which is large enough to accommodate a symphony orchestra, and new electroacoustic music studios. A new suite of early music rooms for the Centre for Early Music Performance and Research will provide properly temperature and humidity controlled homes for the Department’s large and growing working collection of original and reproduction instruments.

Sir Simon Rattle, Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and formerly of Birmingham’s CBSO, commented: ‘I’m excited by the plans for the University of Birmingham’s new music building, both as a centre of excellence which will attract and nurture talented musicians, but also as a venue which opens university music-making to the wider local and regional community for all to enjoy.’

Helen Newman, Associate Director of Glenn Howells Architects, who have designed the new auditorium building says: ‘Developing an understanding of the underlying geometry, rigor and architecture of the existing buildings has been a fascinating process. We are delighted the music department and functions of the auditorium will now enrich the original vision of Chancellor’s Court as the heart of the University.’


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