Cardiff Innovation Campus


Changing the world requires something, and somewhere, out of the ordinary. Something to spark ideas, inspire creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. A space where you can dare to dream, experiment and share those ideas with a diverse community of academics, students, business, policy makers and more.

Oculus Staircase in the UK
created for local people

Located at Maindy Park in the heart of Cardiff, the Campus is the door to innovation at Cardiff University and will provide cutting-edge facilities that will help researchers and students work across disciplines and with partners to influence policy and build enterprises that create products, spin-outs, start-ups and social enterprises.

The state-of-the-art Campus will feature two new buildings driving innovation. Innovation Central, designed by award-winning architects Hawkins\Brown, will house SPARK, the world’s first social science research park, and the Innovation Centre – a creative space for start-ups, spin-outs and partnerships. The Translational Research Facility, designed by global architects HOK, will be home to two world-leading scientific research establishments – the Institute for Compound Semiconductors and Cardiff Catalysis Institute.

Delivering a UK first

The Oculus staircase, the first of its kind in the UK, has been installed, and is set to be the showpiece of Innovation Central.

The staircase is a sculptural, open staircase travelling through a slanting void. Its name is taken from the oculus design, which depicts an eye that allows light to flood into a space.

Designed by architects Hawkins\Brown, the aim of the Oculus staircase is to drive engagement and collaboration between the varying departments and uses of the building. It starts at the ground floor as a social stair and forms breakout zones to each level, which are curated differently, becoming destinations to users on other floors. These can also be accessed by the lift core adjacent.

The oculus staircase embodies in practical, material form the values and ethos of the Innovation Central building: it’s a dynamic connecting path, with – as the name suggests – an eye open to the outside world.

Professor Damian Walford Davies, Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Social Value

Bouygues UK has worked with Student Ambassadors in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) on projects at schools in Margam, Port Talbot and Penarth, but this is the first time Bouygues UK is partnering with students at a higher education establishment to help with community communication.

Five student volunteers from diverse backgrounds and areas of academic study at Cardiff University have been recruited to write, blog and share social media posts about their exclusive insights into the build on the city centre site.

The students will visit the site throughout the duration of the project to see how Bouygues UK and Cardiff University are working together to transform a former disused rail yard into a state-of-the-art campus.

“It is so encouraging that we have students from such diverse courses as Medicine, Urban Planning and Development and Civil Engineering.

The Student Ambassadors at the comprehensive schools we build were amazing at informing their friends and peers about what was going on with the build, so we were really pleased when Cardiff University wanted to replicate the scheme at the Innovation Campus.

The Ambassadors will not only get to see how the site is developing from the inside, but they will also gain access to Bouygues UK’s expertise in design, construction management, health and safety and quality – all disciplines which I’m sure will help in their future careers.”

Nick Toulson, Social Value Manager, Bouygues UK