A pioneering 10-year project connecting the UK’s carbon research with Australia, US and Amazonian research wins Project of the Year at the RICS Awards 2017, West Midlands.

Birmingham Institute of Forest Research scheme, situated in the Staffordshire countryside takes home the highly acclaimed title, which is presented to the scheme which demonstrates outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to the local area.

Winners | RICS Awards 2017, West Midlands

  • Building Conservation: Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Commercial: The Grand Hotel, Shops & Offices – Phase 1
  • Community Benefit: Remembrance Centre at the National Memorial Arboretum
  • Design through Innovation: Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry
  • Infrastructure: Birmingham Institute of Forest Research
  • Regeneration: iCentrum
  • Residential: Chamberlain Residential Scheme, Birmingham
  • Tourism & Leisure: Remembrance Centre at the National Memorial Arboretum

Alongside the winners our judges put forward one project as Highly Commended; this project impressed our panel of judges but was just pipped to the post by the winners.

Community Benefit- Lye & Wollescote Cemetary Chapels, Stourbridge

2017 Project of the Year, West Midlands

Birmingham Institute of Forest Research aims to be at the forefront of research for the University of Birmingham at its new Stafford site. The CO2 research facility located in remote historic woodland is the only one of its kind in the UK and will stimulate the atmospheric conditions expected in 2070. Investigating the effects of climate change on existing woodlands the facility comprises a series of cylindrical ring structures, reaching just above the tree canopy, with supporting pipes delivering CO2 in such a way that the woodland inside the ring is immersed in CO2.

As the first and only deciduous research facility in the world, the concept was based around an existing facility in Australia. Also as the third Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) research on trees ever attempted, this unique project will test the resilience of mature forest in a high carbon future.

This project only has a small physical footprint but has national and global significance. When 60% of the world’s carbon comes from construction we need to not only look to reduce our footprint but understand the effects increased carbon will have on the planet. This intricately planned, sensitively executed research scheme will assess the impact of CO2 on our forests for years to come. Projects that can nudge political thought on such important subjects are few and far between and the empirical evidence this could provide could be as significant as the CFC research that looked to repair the ozone in Antarctic.

About the RICS Awards, West Midlands

The annual event has been running for over ten years and demonstrates the best built environment projects from the land, property and construction sectors. This year the event, sponsored by Sika Sarnafil +, was held at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham, played host to over 250 attendees to celebrate some of the region’s best initiatives.

Winners of all categories will now go forward to the RICS Awards Grand Final 2017, held at The Intercontinental, London on 2 November 2017 to compete against other regional winners for the overall title of National Project of the Year.

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