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Glenn Howells gets go-ahead for £8.5m deafblind centre

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[FIRST LOOK + PROJECT DATA] Glenn Howells Architects has won planning for a new £8.5 million centre in Birmingham for national deafblind charity Sense

The 4,500m² building has been specifically designed for those with sensory impairments, and features widened corridors, differing floor surfaces, and sensory gardens.

Designed as four ‘interlinked suites’, the centre is arranged around a series of outdoor gardens which shelter the building from the adjacent busy road.

The scheme also includes a café, community space and new public plaza overlooking the canal.

Glenn Howells said: ‘This is an important project in that it has the opportunity, through the amazing work of Sense, to transform people’s lives and integrate people with sensory disabilities with the local community.

‘Throughout the design process we have been working closely with the Sense team to make sure the building makes the maximum positive impact to this part of Birmingham but also improves the quality of life for the people who use it through the careful consideration of the parts of the building that help assist in overcoming disabilities.’

Sense chief executive Gill Morbey added: ‘The centre will provide integrated services for people with disabilities and the wider community and in time we hope it will become an exemplar model of care. We are also bringing considerable investment and substantial social and economic value, supporting the area’s regeneration and creating 130 jobs.’

Construction of the building is set to begin in late 2015, and is expected to complete in 2017.

Glenn Howells Sense

Project data

Location Birmingham
Type of project deafblind centre
Client Sense
Architect Glenn Howells Architects
Planning consultant GVA
Structural engineer HRW
M&E consultant ESC
Quantity surveyor Greenwood Projects
Landscape architect Coe Design Landscape Architecture
Funding £2.1 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund
Start on site date Spetember 2015
Completion date 2017
Gross internal floor area 4,500m²
Form of contract/procurement Traditional
Total cost £8.5 million
Environmental target BREEAM Very Good
Annual predicted CO2 emissions 24 kg/CO²/m²/annum
Predicted air tightness levels 3m³/(h.m²) @ 50Pa

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