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Go ahead for £50m Centre for Student Life

14 December 2016

Centre for Student Life front elevation architect visuals
Architect visuals for the front elevation of the Centre for Student Life.

The City of Cardiff Council has resolved to grant planning permission for Cardiff University to begin construction on a £50m landmark building at the heart of its Cathays Campus.

The Centre for Student Life is part of a major investment in the student experience and part of the biggest campus upgrade in a generation.

The Centre is a partnership project with our Students’ Union and is a response to requests from students for enhanced services and improved spaces for learning and studying. It is the fruition of a successful and dynamic partnership that the University is proud to enjoy with its student body.

The new building will create a central hub for our student support services as well as offering modern, flexible social learning spaces and a technology-rich 550-seat lecture theatre.

Centre for Student Life - Lecture Theatre
Proposed 550 seat lecture theatre in the Centre for Student Life

The Centre for Student Life will make support services more accessible to students, including those based outside Cathays Park.

There will be an improved online support service, and the Centre will offer a single point of contact for students and Cardiff University Schools. It will provide ease of access to a range of services and facilities, including extended opening hours.

Student services will be structured around:

  • Futures: careers, employability and global opportunities
  • Wellbeing: mental health and counselling
  • Student life: money, international student support, disability support, student administration
  • Advice bar: students can raise their query either physically within the centre or online 24/7
Centre for Student Life - First floor Commons
The Centre for Student Life will provide modern social spaces for students and staff

Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said: “This is a major investment in our students and their learning experience..."

“Our students expect world-leading facilities and the Centre for Student Life will meet those high expectations."

Professor Colin Riordan President and Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University

“Our students and staff are not the only beneficiaries because this will be a landmark building for the people and city of Cardiff.”

Students’ Union President Sophie Timbers said: “We know this is the single biggest investment in the student experience for a generation.

“It follows the University’s major investment in the Students’ Union building which has transformed the Senghennydd Road entrance to the Students’ Union, providing a warm welcome and a range of shops and cafés benefiting both students and the public.

“I’m very happy that Cardiff City Council has backed the University’s ambitious plans to create the Centre for Student Life..."

“The co-location of the Centre and the Students’ Union will enable easy access of services, which will benefit students enormously."

Sophie Timbers Students’ Union President

“The partnership between the Students’ Union and the University is a vital one for both parties and this will allow us to work even more closely together.”

Centre for Student Life - Advice bar
The Campus Master Plan was developed after a major consultation with staff and students

The building was designed by award-winning architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBStudios) which has a track record with high-profile public buildings.

FCBStudios has experience working on university projects both in the UK and internationally and has worked on numerous flagship schemes for major clients such as the Manchester School of Art, National Trust, Royal Airforce Cold War Museum and the Southbank Centre.

Lead architect Tom Jarman said: “Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios are delighted that the Centre for Student Life at Cardiff University has been granted planning permission and we very much look forward to taking the project to the next stages.

“The scheme remains true to the original competition concepts and we are excited to take one step closer to seeing it come to fruition.”

Centre for Student Life - Second Floor Commons
Second floor common room in the Centre for Student Life

Construction work is due to start in 2017 and the Centre is due to be completed for the 2019/20 academic year.

The decision on the Centre for Student Life follows city planners’ approval of the latest phase of the University’s £300m Innovation Campus in mid-November. Two new buildings, costing a total of £135m, will bring researchers, businesses, public sector backers and students together to unlock ideas that drive economic growth.

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The Campus Master Plan is a major transformation of our campus to provide new state-of-the-art research, teaching and student facilities.