Bouygues UK has formally handed over the keys to the newly-completed sbarc|spark building at Cardiff University, which was officially opened on St David’s Day, 1st March 2022.
The new building is the largest innovation facility of its kind in Wales, featuring 12,000m sq of floor space across six storeys, with commercial units and lab spaces for spinouts and start-ups.
Designed by Hawkins\Brown architects, the building houses an eye-catching Oculus staircase – the first of its kind in the UK – which was designed and produced by Taunton Fabrications.
The sbarc|spark build began in 2018 and is the first building to be completed on the University’s Cardiff Innovation Campus.
Bouygues UK remains on site at the Translational Research Hub (TRH) – a building situated adjacent to sbarc|spark – which will house two world-leading scientific research establishments; the Institute for Compound Semiconductors and Cardiff Catalysis Institute. TRH is due for completion in the middle of the year.
Featuring collaborative working spaces, auditorium and RemakerSpace, sbarc|spark locates 400 experts from 12 social science research groups alongside Cardiff Innovations@sbarc – the University’s home for partnerships. It will eventually be home to 800 people, providing an innovative space to nurture and grow tomorrow’s big ideas, with dedicated space for student entrepreneurs and start-ups.
The building also benefits the local community as the ground floor will be a public open space with a café and a flexible auditorium for TEDx-style events.
Bouygues UK Operations Director for Wales, Stephen Davies, said: “Our team have achieved a major milestone in handing over the sbarc|spark building for our valued client Cardiff University.
“Our team and trusted supply chain partners have worked tirelessly to deliver a facility of the highest quality and it is so rewarding for them to finally see the smiling faces of the client and their tenants as they start to occupy the building.
“We would like to thank Cardiff University, Gleeds and all our partners on the project in achieving the successful handover of the sbarc|spark building and look forward to their continued support as we drive towards completion of the full facility.
“We are extremely proud of the teams’ commitment to social value and the community which include 471 hours of staff time donated to education and community support and 5,957 weeks of employment delivered for apprentices, trainees, graduates and previously unemployed people. In addition, more than 70% of site contractors and labour was sourced locally during the build, bringing economic benefits to Wales.”
Professor Damian Walford Davies, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, has overseen the delivery of the centre. He said of the opening:
“We celebrate the opening of sbarc|spark confident that the vision that inspired it – that of a community of Cardiff University researchers with social and economic wellbeing as their subject and goal, co-located with external partners with innovation in their souls in a building designed to eliminate barriers – will now be lived reality.”