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One of the most ambitious education projects in Wales



HIGHLIGHTS

  • City centre campus for Cardiff and Vale College
  • Over 16,500 sq m of space for 4,000 students
  • Learning facilities for communities and business in Cardiff
  • Almost twice the size of pitch at adjacent Millennium Stadium
  • Includes first Simply Fresh store in Wales

Situated on a brownfield site, Cardiff and Vale College's new city centre campus is the biggest education project in Cardiff for a generation. It's a fine addition for a college with 20,000 students.

Larger in size than the nearby Millennium Stadium, the new campus features one of Europe's largest arrays of photovoltaics, with 1,875 square metres on the roof. Combined with natural ventilation to 50% of the building and a CHP plant in a separate Energy Centre, our team have delivered a highly energy efficient environment.


Being in the heart of the Central Cardiff Enterprise Zone, the campus will be a learning zone for companies across many industries, and is particularly focused on financial and professional services which are two dominant sectors in the city.

Bigger and better

The scale of the campus is impressive. It includes:

  • 130 different teaching rooms – including specialist labs, workshops, studios, IT suites and general teaching rooms.
  • A dedicated science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) centre
  • Performance theatre
  • Mac, music tech, film and dance studios
  • Bar and restaurant on the 5th floor with views across the city
  • Business centre including 10 bookable training rooms
  • Subway sandwich shop and cafe

Over 4,000 students will use the facilities a year, accessing 200 courses, along with more who can benefit from short courses, employer training and apprenticeships. The campus is also designed to cater for the needs of 250 staff who will operate from the location.

Construction challenges

The site is a former chain testing and railway sleeper dipping facility which had been reclaimed and decontaminated. Despite that, site investigation reports indicated selected areas of contamination remained, leaving the team to change piling methods from CFA installation to driven precast concrete piles to negate the potential of bringing up contaminated spoil during the process.

The team also devised a suitable methane protection system to protect the building, while also combining curtain wall, cladding and brickwork on the exterior which required coordination of interfaces and details in order to achieve the required aesthetic.

Large PV roof and structure

With a target of BREEAM ‘Excellent’, the building's 1,850 square metre photovoltaic array is the largest in Wales; a visible demonstration of the demand to harness natural resource to create energy.

Making the structure as weatherproof as possible as soon as possible was a further key driver for the team. With around 70 per cent of the scheme featuring a glass façade, including those of the fine dining restaurant with views across the city toward the Millennium Stadium, the team developed a waterproof gasket which ensures a weather tight seal between window and structural frame.

This runs from behind the glazing unit and is fixed to the concrete face of the structure; a simple measure ensuring that finishing and wet trades had access to areas of the building earlier than might otherwise be the case.