Team appointed to transform Gloucester’s former Debenhams store into unique multi-million pound university campus

University of Gloucestershire Debenham exterior

The University of Gloucestershire has revealed the team that will help transform Gloucester’s iconic former Debenhams building into a thriving city centre campus.

The tender to drive forward the design of the new city centre campus project has been won by ADP Architecture, a leading architect with extensive experience of the UK Higher Education sector and nine offices, including in Birmingham and Oxford … and Delhi, India.

ADP Architecture will lead a multi-disciplined design team comprising Arup, appointed for structural engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering and sustainability consultancy services, and Hoare Lea, which will provide fire and engineering expertise. Ridge and Partners LLP have been appointed as project managers and Coreus Group will be the cost consultants for the project.

The University of Gloucestershire announced in March that it had bought the Debenhams building – a major focal point for the community for 80 years – and intends to redevelop the existing fabric of the building to create a vibrant new environment.

Once completed, the new campus will be a modern centre for teaching, learning and community partnerships; playing a vital role in both the regeneration of the city centre and supporting the University’s ambitious plans for growth.

Dr Nigel Wichall, Director of Estates at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “We’re delighted to have put together a really strong team of experts from the South West to work with us on this next, exciting stage of the city campus project.

“It’s an important milestone and we’re very much looking forward to sharing our plans with the local community as they evolve.”

David Jovetic, Studio Director at ADP Architecture, said: “ADP Architecture is proud to be designing the city centre campus alongside the University of Gloucestershire and our multi-disciplinary team. Once completed, it will provide a new presence for the university in the heart of the city and breathe new life into a much-loved local landmark, creating a sustainable and innovative centre of excellence.”

James Colthart, Central and Wales Regional Director of Coreus, said: “Coreus have always been passionate about providing inspiring spaces for young people to learn, and are thrilled to have been appointed as cost consultants for this exciting new city centre campus project.

University of Gloucestershire Debenham interior“The regeneration of this famous building, located in the heart of the city, will provide the University with much needed space to expand as well as a create modern learning environment for its students. It’s a project we are truly proud to be a part of.”

Tim Leigh, Partner at Ridge and Partners LLP said: “This project will not only secure the future of a much-loved and iconic building within the city, it will also provide a sustainable solution to meet the University’s plans for growth in teaching and learning. We can’t wait to get started and look forward to working with the University, their stakeholders and wider project team.”

The development of the University’s new city centre campus is part of the wider regeneration plans for the King’s Square area, which is currently being transformed by the City Council.

‘The Forum’ digital quarter development, being led by Gloucester City Council in partnership with Reef Group, will create a mixed-use new build development of office, hotel and residential space close by. The adjacent Kings House is being repurposed as a cultural hub, and new student accommodation was recently completed nearby at Blackfriars.

Richard Jones, Associate at Arup, said: “We look forward to working on the University of Gloucestershire’s new city centre campus development. Drawing on our team’s expertise in sustainable building design we will work with ADP Architecture to transform the existing space into an efficient and stimulating teaching environment that helps its local community thrive. We’ll apply leading engineering solutions to reinvigorate the building into a wellbeing focused teaching space for staff and students to enjoy for many years to come.”

The University hopes that phase one of the project could open as early as September 2023, subject to statutory approvals. Technicians from the University’s media school recently captured this drone footage of the exterior and interior of the building to capture this stage in its journey, before the design and investigation works get fully underway.

Gloucester launches ambitious £20 million city centre regeneration bid