New CTL Building Ceremonially Topped Out | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

New CTL Building Ceremonially Topped Out

With the signing of one of the building’s girders and a reception in a marquee on the ground floor of the unfinished building, UoB’s new Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) has been ceremonially ‘topped out’

Invited guests, including Pro-Vice Chancellor Tim Softley, Head of the College of Engineering Andy Schofield, and Guild President Ellie Keiller, signed a girder in what will become the building's 'plant room'. They then attended a reception where Softley gave a speech.

Softley, speaking in a marquee on the unfinished ground floor of the soon-to-be high tech facility, spoke of how the topping out ceremony dates back to an ancient Scandinavian tradition to ward off evil spirits. He told those assembled that this was a 'very significant occasion' and claimed that it was possible 'to really get a feel of the scale of it'.

Softley confirmed that the building was on track to open next September

He confirmed that the building was on track to open next September and thanked Morgan Sindall, the contractors behind the building, for managing to keep to the timescale. The university's last major building project, the new Sports Centre, was delayed by almost a year under a different contractor.

The laboratory, which cost £40 million, is still some way from being completed. When it opens in autumn 2018, the CTL will house a wet lab, dry lab, and an e-lab. Schofield, called them 'cutting edge facilities' and told Redbrick that ‘it’s going to be transformative for students in experimental subjects’.

Architect Alex Smith, who worked on designing the building, told Redbrick that he was 'just happy to be involved with such an exciting project'. He said that 'the university has had the vision and they’ve let us go for it' and that UoB was developing the curriculum alongside.

Keiller said that she thought the building was 'really exciting for students at the university'

Smith also described how, in designing the building, they had 'anchored the materiality of the building into the timeline of the university', meaning that they had kept its colour palette in line with those of other new buildings, such as the New Library and Sport Centre. This promoted Keiller to joke that 'we might not be called red brick any more but gold-sheeted'.

Keiller said that she thought the building was 'really exciting for students at the university'. Standing in what would be the e-lab in a hard hat while being rained on, she told Redbrick she was 'inspired at how quickly it's gone up. Just need to make sure it’s a bit warmer and the roof is watertight'.

The CTL building is phase two of a project, with the first phase having been a refurbishment of the heavy engineering lab in the Mechanical and Civil Engineering building. Second year Materials and Mechanical Engineering student Andrew Loddo told Redbrick that the refurbishment had provided students with 'specific equipment and space to demonstrate and learn about different concepts covered in lectures'.

A virtual reality model of some of the building's labs, developed by company Alpha Tango Delta, makes it possible to view in VR what the completed facilities will look like. The developers said that this would probably be made available to download as an Android Cardboard app later in the year.

News Editor (@john_wimperis)


14th November 2017 at 9:00 am

Images from

John James