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BDP completes Cardiff Innovation Campus

25 August 2022

Work on Cardiff University’s Innovation Campus – home to two new state-of-the-art research buildings – has been completed.

Multi-disciplinary design practice BDP completed the masterplan and final landscape design on the latest phase of the project, providing high quality external spaces for research, social interaction and contemplation.

The campus includes the sbarc|spark building, home to the Social Science Research Park (SPARK) and Cardiff Innovations@sbarc|spark, the University’s creative base for spinouts and startups, and the Translational Research Hub, which brings industrial partners alongside researchers to design, develop and test new cleaner, greener products and processes.

Professor Damian Walford Davies, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University, who led the delivery of sbarc|spark, said: “BDP’s completion of carefully curated public outdoor spaces, designed to help our staff, guests and public forge future partnerships, effectively signs off our campus of creativity and collaboration with a final flourish.”

Martin Jones, landscape architect director at BDP, said: "Our approach to the landscape and public realm reflects the exciting science happening within these world-class facilities and extends the collaborative environment fostered inside to the outdoor spaces. We’ve incorporated ecological corridors to boost biodiversity, a pollinator garden to support ground-breaking scientific endeavours and a public square so indoor events can spill outside.”

BDP’s public realm concept, named the ‘innovation system’, was designed to spark ideas, debate and information exchange, both through the public square with space for outside exhibitions and meetings, the central landscaped spine connecting the two buildings, and the raised lawn with places to sit and interact.

The geometry of compound semiconductor technology is reflected in the paving layout and design, with honeycomb paving populating the @Pharmabees pollinator garden - a collaborative research project between scientists from Cardiff University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the National Botanic Garden of Wales to identify plant-derived drugs which could be used to treat antibiotic-resistant hospital pathogens.

Martin added: “From a masterplanning perspective, the BDP team overcame challenges associated with working with such a constrained site, bordered by a railway and busy roads. Buildings had to be positioned far away enough from the perimeter of the site to ensure vibrations and moving vehicles wouldn’t affect the powerful scientific equipment, such as microscopes and scanners, housed inside.”

BDP worked in collaboration with architects Hawkins Brown (sbarc|spark) and HOK (TRH) on the project. Bouygues UK delivered the scheme.

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