Practice says postgraduate centre is ‘strong architectural counterpoint’ to neighbouring Brutalist tower

London firm Berman Guedes Stretton has completed a new postgraduate centre for the University of Birmingham’s Business School.

Its 3,000 sq m Alan Walters Building – named after the economist best known for being prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s economic adviser in the 1980s – provides the school’s first Harvard-style lecture theatre; a larger, tiered lecture theatre; a mock trading room; IT suites; staff offices; and social spaces. The facilities are particularly designed with postgraduates studying for MBAs in mind.

The £6.9 million block has two three-storey wings, and is next to the university’s 16-storey Muirhead Tower block, designed by Sir Philip Dowson of Arup Associates and opened in 1971.

BGS said the site’s close proximity to the Brutalist tower had “demanded a very specific response in terms of materiality and perceived scale”.

Muirhead Tower was refurbished to designs by Birmingham-based practice Associated Architects in a project that completed in 2009.