IMPACT Swansea University Research Facility, Welsh Higher Education Building, Architect
IMPACT Swansea University Research Facility, Wales
New Welsh Higher Education Architecture design by AHR Architects
7 Jun 2019
Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies Swansea
Design: AHR Architects
Swansea University’s £35m new research facility IMPACT reaches completion
An AHR-designed advanced engineering research facility for Swansea University has reached completion. The Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT) is part of the University’s strategic expansion of the College of Engineering and, as a Centre of Excellence, will provide a unique colocation facility for academia-industry partnerships in ambitious research and development.
The transformative design combines laboratory and office space for top talent to partner up and conduct world-leading science in the fields of advanced engineering, modelling and materials.
Gary Overton, director at architecture and building consultancy practice, AHR, said, “As a powerful, collaborative environment, we approached the design for IMPACT in a way that prioritised a multidisciplinary way of working throughout. The environment stimulates ingenuity by working with the people inside, embedding connectivity between core research areas so that the industry and academia feel like the spaces are encouraging them to work together as one. We’re delighted with the result and especially excited to hear about the inspiring work that will be taking place at IMPACT.”
IMPACT will seek to tackle bold challenges such as the generation of renewable technologies, creating novel materials, and delivering the fourth industrial revolution in manufacturing.
As novel research flourishes within, an enchanting living wall made up of 5,500 plants on the building’s exterior reflects the growth of knowledge through rich biodiversity for onlookers to enjoy, as well as wildlife, with nest boxes for swifts, sparrows and bats. The design has utilised renewable energy technologies wherever possible, with features including the integration of solar thermal collector technology into the façade in a way that has not been implemented before.
Professor Johann Sienz, Director of Innovation and Engagement in the College of Engineering at Swansea University, and Director of IMPACT, added: “AHR has converted our discussions into what already now feels will be an excellent and inspirational working environment for the many academics, researchers, students, visitors and collaborators from companies and academia.”
IMPACT follows the success of the neighbouring Computational Foundry building, also designed by AHR, which opened earlier this year. The two major new buildings at Swansea Bay Campus establishes a global destination for research at the University.
AHR’s expertise in higher education design has seen the practice recently shortlisted for the Education category in the 2019 BD Architect of the Year Awards.
The IMPACT research operation has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Swansea University.
AHR is a multi-award-winning architecture and building consultancy practice, operating in the UK and internationally, and with a legacy dating back to 1835.
The Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT) is a £35 million state-of-the-art engineering research institute specialising in fundamental research and innovation in advanced engineering, modelling and materials. The operation has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Swansea University.
As a Centre of Excellence, IMPACT supports the regional and global engineering industry with collaborative, fundamental research. The IMPACT building is based at Swansea University Bay Campus and forms part of the College of Engineering – offering a unique colocation facility for academia-industry partnerships within a transformative research environment.
Completed in May 2019, the building itself is divided by a linked atrium into two distinct areas, which include a research office building and a large open plan laboratory building. In addition, there are 80 single occupancy offices and hub space for over 150 researchers. Externally, the north entrance features a large living wall of plants and flowers approximately 114m2.
The ethos of IMPACT is to foster academia-industry partnerships, promoting cross-disciplinary fertilisation of ideas in the pursuit of new pioneering technology. This will be achieved by bringing together first class expertise from the College, attracting leading talent and partnering with the World’s largest companies and regional partners.
Designed to BREEAM* excellent standards, the building is set to officially launch in the winter months. It will provide future proof highly specialised laboratories with a dynamic environment for collaboration of industry and academia. This unique operation aims to attract world leading expertise and significant research funding.
*BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for master planning projects, infrastructure and buildings. It recognises and reflects the value in higher performing assets across the built environment lifecycle, from new construction to in-use and refurbishment.
IMPACT Swansea University Research Facility image / information from AHR Architects
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