Tower demolition transforms city skyline

Tower Block Demolition
Picture by Annette Rubery

27 April 2014

A 1970s accommodation tower- block at Aston University has been reduced to rubble, paving the way for a new gateway into the University and a 5-acre green open space at the heart of the University’s campus.

Stafford Tower, off James Watt Queensway in Birmingham was blown down by DSM Demolition Ltd on Sunday (April 27th 2014), dramatically changing the City Centre’s skyline. The DSM team has also demolished Aston University’s adjacent 1970s GEM sports centre and former Lakeside Conference Centre, which have been replaced by new sports and conference facilities elsewhere on campus. The new landscaped area, part of the Aston Student Village development, will include a new walkway into the University from Birmingham City Centre and a multi-purpose pavilion designed for use as a teaching space and as a catering facility for outdoor events.

A major exclusion zone was in place across the University’s campus on Sunday (April 27th) and nearby roads and footpaths, with a total of 400 students evacuated on the day. Students were able to watch the demolition of the 21-storey building in progress on big screens from the safety of Aston’s Great Hall.

It is the third 1970s tower-block to be demolished at Aston, with the former Dalton and Lawrence Towers razed to the ground in 2011. These two towers were replaced by new en-suite accommodation for 1050 students and a number of business units to help encourage investment in the City of Birmingham’s Eastside. The development takes Aston’s total campus accommodation to over 3,000 en-suite rooms following completion of the successful first phase of the Aston Student Village in 2010. This stage featured a multi-faith room and an 11-a-side all weather sports pitch.

The Aston Student Village forms part of an overall £300m investment into Aston’s campus, including new multi-million pound research centres for health and low carbon technologies and new sports facilities. The new green space is due to be completed by this September.

A University spokesman said: Due to the proximity of the towers to other buildings, businesses and major inner city roads, we worked closely with DSM to establish an ‘exclusion zone’ around the site, evacuating student residences, and closing certain roads and footpaths for health and safety reasons. We’d like to thank Aston staff and students, members of the public and local businesses for their patience and cooperation. This final tower demolition is the final demolition in the Aston Student Village development. It will create a new green space and pavilion facility at the heart of the campus, which will undoubtedly enhance the university and city environment.”

Billy Young Contracts Manager from DSM Demolition Ltd, said: DSM are proud to have been involved with such a high profile complex demolition on the live Aston Campus in Birmingham City Centre. The successful blow down has strengthened our relationship with Aston University and we look forward to working on the campus in the future as the regeneration of the campus progresses.”

View a BBC report on the behind the scenes science involved in demolishing the tower.

View footage of the demolition coverage from BBC Midlands Today.


For further information please contact Alex Earnshaw, University Communications on 0121 204 4549

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