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Wonky wedding cake or iconic building? Reaction to CGIs of Aston University’s new plan

A futuristic new building planned by Aston University looks like a wobbly wedding cake, hula hoops, and even three stacked car air filters.

A variety of CGI images have been released that responded to both praise and criticism.

The planned work, teaching and social learning building is planned for the corner of Woodcock Street and Lister Street near the Sacks of Potatoes pub on Aston’s campus.

A planning application with designs by Hawkins Brown, Hoare Lee, Price & Myers and Exterior Architecture (ExA) has now been submitted to the Birmingham City Council.

The pictures were posted online this week and were praised by many comments.

CGI plans to build a new teaching block on the Aston University campus
(Image: Hawkins Brown)

Simon Paul Felton wrote on Twitter: “I love the movement of rings almost like three hula hoops at the same time. Very photogenic for visitors to Brum too. ”

Ben Hood tweeted, “I love this stunning new proposal from Aston University in Birmingham city center: a brand new teaching and learning building that is the first part of their master plan for a mixed use destination on campus.

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“More world-class architecture is coming to Birmingham.”

Keith Shaw posted on Facebook, “I love it – our Victorian enthusiasts may not.”

But not everyone was impressed. Tony Latham wrote on Twitter: “Looks like three car air filters stacked on top of each other … not pretty.”

Ken Scott-Clegg wrote on Facebook: “Looks terrible. Like a wobbly wedding cake.”

Rosemarie Lowry-Perk wrote: “Words cannot describe my thoughts on this.”

Mary Dean wrote, “Not what I would call an icon? I could smash one in corrugated cardboard.”

Ian Oldacre, Director of Estates at Aston University, said, “Our ambitious campus vision shows our commitment to invest heavily in providing a ‘target campus’ to meet the changing needs and capabilities of universities.

“Aston University’s future growth will include evolving trends such as online and remote learning, better connectivity, the growth of international students, and closer collaboration with business partners and the business community.

“This new landmark is the first phase of our master plan and long-term strategy.

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“We have worked closely with our partners on Birmingham City Council to develop an iconic building not just for Aston University but for the city of Birmingham as well.”

The building is described as “two halves” – with a public arcade on the ground floor below and the “playful” upper area, which houses study and office rooms.

Tom Noonan, Partner at Hawkins Brown, said, “Our proposed design for this Grade I listed building is to serve as a dynamic new front door to Aston’s campus – an interface between the university and the big city.

“It is designed as a building made of two halves: In the lower area, which opens up to a landscaped square, civic uses are made available, which enable new public routes to up-and-coming districts such as the knowledge district of Birmingham.

“Above this base is a playful lantern that contains study rooms and academic offices.

“The dynamic and visually eye-catching lantern offers roof terraces on which the floor slabs can be moved, and should continue to offer the university new types of flexible spaces in the future.”

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