£35 million engineering research institute completed

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The Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT) has reached completion. The research facility, specialising in advanced engineering, is based at Swansea University Bay Campus and forms part of the College of Engineering, providing it with space for strategic expansion.

The completion of the building marks a major milestone in the successful delivery of the £35 million state-of-the-art engineering research operation.  Construction commenced in December 2017 with a design created to further support the global engineering industry with collaborative, fundamental research. 

The transformative design combines laboratory and office space to provide a unique colocation environment for academia-industry partnerships.

Find out more about IMPACT

IMPACT building - completed inside‌Picture:  inside the £35 million IMPACT building  (Image courtesy of AHR)

As a Centre of Excellence, IMPACT promotes the cross-disciplinary fertilisation of ideas, in the pursuit of new pioneering technology, through collaboration with the world’s largest companies and innovative regional partners.  The design of the IMPACT building enables closer working relationships within a facility that offers 80 single occupancy offices, hub space for over 150 researchers in addition to the 1,600m2 open plan lab space, and co-location space for 50 industrial and academic collaborators. 

AHR, the chosen architecture and building consultancy practice, have expertise in higher education design that has seen the practice recently shortlisted for the Education category in the 2019 BD Architect of the Year Awards.

Gary Overton, Director at AHR, said:

“As a powerful, collaborative environment, we approached the design for IMPACT in a way that prioritised a multidisciplinary way of working throughout.

The environment stimulates ingenuity by working with the people inside, embedding connectivity between core research areas so that the industry and academia feel like the spaces are encouraging them to work together as one. We’re delighted with the result and especially excited to hear about the inspiring work that will be taking place there. 

IMPACT follows the success of the neighbouring Computational Foundry building, also designed by AHR, which opened earlier this year. The two major new buildings at Swansea Bay Campus establishes a global destination for research at the University.”

IMPACT building - completed outside‌Picture:  the outside of the IMPACT building, which features a giant living wall with over 5,000 plants (Image courtesy of AHR)

Find out how the living wall will improve energy efficiency and attract wildlife

Professor Johann Sienz, Director of Innovation and Engagement in the College of Engineering, and Director of IMPACT, said of the design:

“AHR has converted our discussions into what already now feels will be an excellent and inspirational working environment for the many academics, researchers, students, visitors and collaborators from companies and academia.”

 As well as being a transformative research environment, the building also features a 114m2 ‘living wall’ of approximately 5,500 plants and flowers, situated on the front elevation of the building, creating a dramatic approach to the campus upon arrival.  The wall brings a new level of sustainability to the building, provides a home for wildlife with integrated nest boxes and enhances the biodiversity of the site.    In addition, the roof houses 240 photo-voltaic solar panels which provide a source of energy.

The operation has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Swansea University.  The building will officially launch in the winter months.


Swansea University College of Engineering