Hadyn Ellis Building officially opens

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Written by Katie Enidcott The 9,000 m sq building is the home to the institutions world leading University Research Institutes: the European Cancer St...

Written by Katie Enidcott


The 9,000 m sq building is the home to the institution’s world leading University Research Institutes: the European Cancer Stem Cell and Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institutes as well as the established Medical Research Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics. The Hadyn Ellis building is also the new home for the University Graduate College and provides office and meeting space for Public Health Wales; bringing leaders in science, education and health together within one single building.

Acting as a ‘front-door’ to the campus, the Hadyn Ellis building is welcoming, spacious and inclusive. The colourful exterior and landscaping complement its surroundings; while the transparency of the glass façade provides an enticing view into the bustling foyer and exhibition area. The design establishes an interactive and collaborative space where researchers and the wider community can come together, either to enjoy refreshments in the atrium café, discuss an exhibition in the stunning double height exhibition gallery or attend a conference in the comfortable 150 seat lecture theatre.

Architect and Project Director, Richard Golledge said: “Collaboration and interaction is very important to a successful science building such as the Hadyn Ellis Building.  This has been identified in a recent piece of research conducted by IBI THiNK called ‘4 Labs 4 Cities’.  A comparable study of laboratories across three countries, it explores those factors, aspects, properties or attributes that affect and contribute to the design of research science buildings. The findings of this study give us and our clients a wealth of knowledge about the success of these buildings and will allow us to optimise laboratory design, adding value to future higher education and scientific investment.”

The Hadyn Ellis building is an inspiring place to work and learn. A feature concrete staircase rises through the four storey atrium, giving researchers access to first-class laboratory and office facilities. Open balconies allow visual connection between those visiting and those working within the building and link bridges striding across the atrium provide a physical relationship between dry and wet laboratory spaces. A controlled use of construction materials and colour create identity and act as a natural wayfinding tool, effectively guiding researchers to their destination.

At the ceremony Edwina Hart AM said: “ This is one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen, the quality of design and construction is fantastic.”

Cardiff University’s Professor Michael Owen added:  “IBI Nightingale has created this marvellous building which is perfect for our mission to conduct multidisciplinary research into the causes of mental illness and dementia. The design not only gives us a superb working environment, but also allows us to interact with patients, members of the public and each other. Also this iconic building will show Cardiff University's serious intent to tackle these disorders and gives the public a clear and optimistic message that these conditions can be tackled by modern research methods.”

Highly sustainable (BREEAM Excellent), the design considers the wellbeing of its users as well as its impact on the environment and was awarded Best Higher Education Building in Wales at the BREEAM awards earlier in the year.


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