£3.5 million donation to create innovative new lecture theatres
Press release issued: 9 December 2019
A £3.5 million donation will create state-of-the art lecture theatres, able to hold up to 360 people, at the heart of the University of Bristol’s new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus.
The funding comes from the Bill Brown 1989 Charitable Trust, founded by the late Mr Percy William Ernest (‘Bill’) Brown – an entrepreneur and successful businessman who began his working life in Bristol.
To mark the generous donation, the University is releasing new computer-generated images of the designs for the bright and spacious interior of the main academic buildings, on the site of the former Royal Mail sorting office next to Bristol Temple Meads.
The Bill Brown Lecture Theatres will serve as a lasting legacy to Mr Brown, who did not study at the University but had strong ties with the city having left school at the age of 14 and started his working life in Bristol docks as a book keeper, before moving into insurance.
He went on to establish a successful civil engineering company. As his wife and son tragically died before he did, a charitable trust was formed upon his death in 1989 to donate money to causes which were aligned to his work and his interests.
In addition to teaching, the lecture theatres will be used for key public events such as visiting speakers, conferences, films and TED talks. The University's vision is for the high-tech space to become a facility for local communities and the wider region to use in the evenings and at weekends.
The two 180-seater theatres can be converted into a single 360-seater facility, which will be accessible remotely to bring large groups of people together and allow two-way interaction with lecture theatres on the Clifton Campus.
The Bill Brown Lecture Theatres have been designed to encourage interaction between audience members as well as between speaker and audience, creating active learning opportunities beyond the traditional lecture experience.
Professor Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for New Campus Development, said: "I would like to thank the trustees of the Bill Brown 1989 Charitable Trust for their tremendous generosity and look forward to working with them and other key partners as we bring this new campus to life.
"Collaborative working is a key feature of our plans and the new lecture theatres are a prime example of the world-class interactive learning experience we will be able to provide for our students and visitors.
"As well as being visually inspiring, we hope the lecture theatres will become known as a conference facility across the region as well as a knowledge exchange hub for students, researchers, enterprise partners and local communities."
The new seven-acre Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus will provide teaching, research and innovation space for 3,000 students, around 800 members of staff and external partners from business and the city's communities. It will have a clear focus on digital, business and social innovation.
The campus will be home to the University's new School of Management, its Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and much of its digital and informatics engineering activity. It will include the recently announced Bristol Digital Futures Institute and the Quantum Technology Innovation Centre.
A light-filled central foyer will span the full height of the five storeys above, which will house a mix of research, teaching, innovation and social spaces.
The foyer will be connected to a number of social and enterprise spaces located on the ground floor, which have been designed to welcome local communities at the heart of the building.
The buildings have been designed to be sensitive to the historical setting of Temple Quarter, while also reflecting the modern, innovative nature of the campus.
Following a public consultation in September, a full planning application for the academic buildings was submitted in November.