Psychology Relocation – Gisbert Kapp

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Project Value:

£5 million

Key Points

Five floor renovation

State of the art facilities

Flexible shared spaces

Well-being hub

Two Decades of Projects

Over the course of two decades, Associated Architects have developed a close relationship with the University of Birmingham, completing over 50 feasibility, new build, and refurbishment projects of all scales. Following two earlier major phases of refurbishment of a building group comprising Gisbert Kapp, The Link and 52 Pritchatts Road, were appointed for a third phase in 2021. Gisbert Kapp and its companion buildings were completed in 1970 to house the School of Electrical Engineering and in more recent times the School of Health.

The third phase sees the renovation of five floors of the building to accommodate a series of teaching, research, clinical and offices spaces for staff in the Psychology and Sport, Exercise Science and Rehabilitation Sciences (SportExR) departments. The spaces are available due to a number of departments being relocated to the new AA-designed School of Engineering.

Importance of Access

Two floors will be comprised of sports / clinical facilities whilst the other three will be comprised of office and psychology labs. Rooms will include:• VR Lab
• Physiotherapy spaces
• Multi–Gym
• Yoga / Movement space
• Shared offices
• Test cubicles
• Laboratories

There will also be highly flexible shared spaces, a welcoming Well-being hub to facilitate cross Schools research and community engagement, as well as office space for co-location of members of the Institute for Mental Health and School of Psychology staff. Staff consultation has enabled the design team to develop the brief to identify the specialist facilities each sub-group needs, and to ascertain options for shared / general purpose spaces.

To facilitate the work of the department, new VR and behavioural testing lab space include a ceiling-rigged system support an array of cameras.
Access is amongst the particular key considerations for the project, therefore wide corridors ensure wheelchair users or those on crutches can safely and easily navigate the building.

Earlier Work

The earlier phase enabled the university to re-invigorate Gisbert Kapp’s external appearance and give the building group a strong new identity at the same time. The external envelope fabric had deteriorated and subsequent repairs had failed to address its poor thermal performance and condition (the EPC was improved from an F to a B). Whilst the project focused on the re-enveloping of the buildings, it also included refurbishment of key internal spaces, including an general purpose teaching facilities, entrance area and an interactive learning space, which can function both as a traditional lecture theatre and a group working environment through the use of flexible furniture solutions.