Sense Touchbase Pears

Selly Oak, Birmingham

A pioneering, multi-purpose community centre delivering vital specialist services for the national deafblind charity, Sense

This exceptional £9.2m, three-storey, community venue has created a major new centre for people with sensory disabilities. Its extensive facilities include a large reception area, community room, performance space, recording studios, library, a catering kitchen, café, business centre, offices and car parking.

Outside, the building is arranged around a series of unique sensory gardens that serve as public, semi-private and private spaces.

  • Client:

    Sense

  • Architect:

    Glenn Howells Architects Ltd

  • Programme:

    71 weeks

Every element of the centre’s fully accessible design has been developed in consultation with children and adults with a range of disabilities. It incorporates many specialist features, such as differing floor surfaces to help those with visual impairments identify different areas in the building.

Throughout the build, we held ‘Hard Hat Days’ for the TouchBase Champions – a group of local family members and individuals with disabilities, to review progress and highlight issues around accessibility, lighting and acoustics.

TouchBase Pears has also made an important contribution to the regeneration of Selly Oak, creating over 130 new jobs.