sbarc | spark, Cardiff University
The world’s first social science research park
Bringing together commercial tenants with university academics, Cardiff University’s new ‘home of innovation’ offers social collaboration, new ways of working, and space to showcase research results.
What enables sbarc | spark to be this new hub for interdisciplinary knowledge sharing are new workspaces, recreational spaces, laboratories, exhibition spaces and roof terraces.
The flow of people is key to achieving this, and our design sought to properly encourage social interaction. It’s why we created the ‘oculus’ – a sculptural staircase that forms the heart of the building.
Rising through the building, the staircase forms a ‘spiral of collaboration’ with breakout zones on the landings of each level creating a lively activity zone in the centre of each floorplate.
We wanted to encourage research and industry partnerships between users of the building, which is why the ground floor includes an event space – ‘The Play Box’ – which is fully accessible to visitors. There is also a café with large sharing tables, drawing together commercial tenants and academic researchers alongside the public and the wider university faculty.
Project name: sbarc | spark, Cardiff University
Location: Cardiff, Wales
Services: Digital design
Value: £20M – £50M
Scope: Architecture, Interior design
Clients: Cardiff University
Completion date: 2022
Structural & Civil Engineer: CH2M
MEP Engineer: Arup
Project Manager: Gleeds
Planning consultant: DPP
Cost consultant: F&G
Fire Engineer: Arup
Acoustic Engineer: Arup
People tracking: Buro Happold
Photography: Will Scott