And it has a 114 metres square ‘living wall’ with around 5,500 plants and flowers.
The Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT) is a state-of-the-art engineering research operation based at Swansea University Bay Campus.
The completion of the building marks a major milestone in the successful delivery of the IMPACT research operation. Construction commenced in December 2017 with a design created to further support the global engineering industry with collaborative, fundamental research. The transformative design combines laboratory and office space to provide a unique co-location environment for academia-industry partnerships.
As a Centre of Excellence, IMPACT promotes the cross-disciplinary fertilisation of ideas, in the pursuit of new pioneering technology, through collaboration with the world’s largest companies and innovative regional partners.
The design of the IMPACT building enables closer working relationships within a facility that offers: 80 single occupancy offices hub space for over 150 researchers in addition to the 1,600m 2 open plan lab space co-location space for 50 industrial and academic collaborators.
AHR, the chosen architecture and building consultancy practice, have expertise in higher education design that has seen the practice recently shortlisted for the Education category in the 2019 BD Architect of the Year Awards.
Gary Overton, Director at 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 there.
"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.”
Professor Johann Sienz, Director of Innovation and Engagement in the College, and Director of IMPACT, said of the design:
“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.”
As well as being a transformative research environment, the building also features a 114 metres square ‘living wall’ of approximately 5,500 plants and flowers, situated on the northern elevation of the building, to give a dramatic approach to the campus upon arrival.
The building is also home to nest boxes for swifts, sparrows and bats; and installed on the roof are 85 photo-voltaic solar panels providing a source of energy.
The operation has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Swansea University. The building will officially launch in February 2020.