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WMG Academy for Young Engineers

Written by Amy

An exciting new Academy building designed by maber architects and built by BAM Construction is set to inspire the automotive and aerospace engineers of the future.

The WMG Academy for Young Engineers, based in Solihull, was completed and handed over in August, just in time to welcome its first cohort of aspiring engineers at the start of term. The WMG Academy for Young Engineers is a University Technical College (UTC).  The Solihull UTC has been created by a powerful partnership between the WMG Academy for Young Engineers Trust, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Jaguar Land Rover, National Grid, SCC, Balfour Beatty, Arup, Controls and Data Services and more than 20 other local and national employers, Solihull College and local schools.

Maber and BAM Construction were awarded the contract to transform what was once a muddy patch of land at the edge of a Solihull park into an inspirational learning hub on the back of their joint reputation for creating outstanding commercial buildings on challenging or restricted sites and their recent experience of working together on another University Technical College in Derby.

The building provides a fabulous ‘business led’ learning environment for 14-18 year olds that feels less like a school and more like a modern work-place.

Flexible, open learning and break-out spaces, packed full of technology, are located off a huge triple height lecture theatre at the centre of the building.  Large windows allow light to flood in all around the building while exposed services reflect the Academy’s focus on engineering.

On the outside, the modern, industrial theme continues with grey cladding and blue brick – communicating the purpose of the building to the surrounding community.   Carefully designed landscaping draws in and welcomes students and visitors to an impressive entrance.   A large window to the front reveals the workshop space – showcasing the work that takes place inside.

Maber’s Managing Director, Mark Hobson, said:

“The ethos of the Academy is problem solving and practical solutions with ICT and digital technology driving a ‘designing, creating, making’ approach.

“We wanted the building to reflect that.  It’s a practical, flexible space that has been designed to be a learning environment for the next generation of engineers.

“At the same time, we hope it will excite and enthuse: to be somewhere students will love to come and can feel proud about”.

James Turner, BAM’s project manager for WMG Academy, said:

“We’ve been very engaged with the design and build of the academy from an early stage which has helped us deliver it successfully, and it has assisted the quality of the partnerships we’ve formed here. That’s a very good model for delivering construction projects generally, and it helps the client get the building they want at the end. I’m pleased to see it looking so good.”

Maber is building a successful track record in the West Midlands. They recently won ‘Best Inclusive Building for the Future’ at LABC West Midlands Building Excellence Awards for South Staffordshire College, and were named ‘West Midlands Architectural Practice of the Year 2015’ at the Insider Property Awards in 2015.

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