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A Student View of Cardiff Innovation Campus

24 July 2019

Work continues apace on Cardiff Innovation Campus. The contractor, Bouygues UK, is making good progress in the summer sunshine. In his first blog, third year medical student and Bouygues UK Student Ambassador, Luke Morgan, writes about his first impressions of a site which, by 2021, will be home to entrepreneurs, researchers, funders and students brimming with great ideas that can shape our world.

‘If you have taken the time to absorb the glorious blue skies over the last month or so, you may have noticed the large cranes dominating the Cathays skyline. Some of these are located slightly further out of the city, along the railway tracks towards Maindy.

For those that aren’t aware, this construction site is just off Maindy Road and is going to be the new site of the Cardiff University Innovation Campus. As part of the Bouygues (pronounced Bweeg) Student Ambassador Programme, I will be visiting this site over the next two years as it is completed to get a bit more of an insight into what’s going on.

It was a bit of a surprise to those involved in the program as to why a medical student would be interested but some of the advanced scientific considerations and designs are particularly interesting and will be the focus of my updates over the next few years.

Upon visiting the site, we were given a tour of the current building work and a demonstration depicting the 3D representation of the site at completion. I’ve added a still image of this below.

Of immediate interest to me, one of the side buildings will be used to house an electron microscope. As such, the building must be free from vibration, otherwise the microscopy images would be useless. The building being near to a train track will make this particularly challenging. Some of the techniques, challenges and progress of this will be included at a later date.

Some of the ‘social’ features within the building are also interesting. Seeing how infrastructure and systems can encourage a certain practice is something I think public health and clinical areas can learn from. For example, the social stairwell (shown below) is designed to encourage collaboration between teams, sitting and chatting on the stair itself. This integrates the movement of people with communication and allows for a much more fluid and flexible working environment.’

More information on this social design can be found here: and more information is on the Hawkins\Brown website:

In terms of the building work itself, a month ago, at my last visit, one of the two building’s ground floor rebar had been put in place and progress was being made on the first floor. I’m looking forward to watching the project grow and I’ll be aiming to post further updates over the next two years.’

Images: – Hawkins\Brown/ Hawkins\Brown & Wigwam Visualisation: ‘Section Through ‘Oculus’ Stair’