The visit by the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal programme took place at the University of Wolverhampton’s iconic £120m Springfield Campus, the site of four Associated Architects projects, two complete and an additional two on-site in the midst of construction.
Associated Architects has led the transformation of the former derelict brewery, which is now home to the University’s flagship building, the School of Architecture and Built Environment, as well as the Thomas Telford University Technical College (UTC), the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills, and the National Brownfield Institute.
Students met with the Parliamentary team to hear more about the plans and the skills needed for the Houses of Parliament restoration. The focus of the day was a meeting with business and education leaders for a wide-ranging roundtable discussion led by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, followed by a tour of the Springfield Campus which included insights from Director Richard Perry and Associate Director Alex Paul who’s team led the renovation of the School of Architecture and Built Environment.
Restoring and renewing one of the world’s most recognised buildings will support thousands of jobs and apprenticeships, involving craftspeople and businesses from across the UK in a national effort; from construction, engineering, design, and IT, as well as attracting those with specialist skills in carpentry, stonemasonry, metalwork, heritage conservation and more.
The Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme is currently developing a detailed and costed restoration plan, and visiting locations around the UK to discuss the skills that will be needed to carry out the project and understand how people and businesses across the country can be involved in the work.
Dr Paul Hampton, Interim Head of School, Architecture and Built Environment, said:
“We were delighted to welcome the team behind the renovation and renewal of the Houses of Parliament to Wolverhampton to hear about the innovative work and training going on in our region. The transformation of the Springfield Campus is an outstanding example of what can be done to breathe new life and energy into buildings while maintaining the heritage.
“Our main focus at the University is to create opportunities and embed employability into all our courses, and the visit enabled our students to benefit from hearing about a once in a lifetime chance to be involved in the restoration of one of our country’s most iconic buildings.”
Mike Brown CBE MVO, Chair of the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Delivery Authority, said:
“Restoring the Houses of Parliament will support thousands of jobs and apprenticeships across the UK so it’s vital we understand how best to harness the skills and expertise of businesses and people nationwide.
“It was fantastic to meet enthusiastic apprentices and students, and discuss how to support jobs in the region with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce at the University of Wolverhampton’s magnificent Springfield heritage construction skills site.”