Skip to main content

IMPACT Building

Swansea, Wales


project overview

State-of-the-art engineering research facility

The Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing & Numerical Technologies (IMPACT) building for Swansea University is a bespoke research facility specialising in advanced engineering. Our design enables closer working relationships within a facility offering a wide range of collaborative and flexible workspaces.

With sustainability weaving throughout the design, we ensured the building has minimal impact on the local and global environment through the use of thermal solar collector technology, natural ventilation strategies, photovoltaic panels and a living wall.

IMPACT provides outstanding value for the university, the global engineering sector, academics and researches, as well as the local community and environment, following the success of the neighbouring Computational Foundry building we also designed.

The value of its world-leading research into areas including the generation of renewable technologies, novel materials, and the fourth industrial revolution in manufacturing benefits our entire world.

AHR’s approach has been highly professional, they listened to our vision, to our requirements, and to our views. Communication with them has been very good and transparent. AHR has converted our discussions into what already now feels will be an excellent and inspirational working environment for the many academics, researchers, students and visitors from companies and academia.”

Professor Johann Sienz

Deputy Head of College - Engineering, Swansea University

project aims

Attracting a wealth of talent and opportunity

As part of our client’s brief, IMPACT creates the facilities to attract top talent to the area through sustainable, environmentally conscious design. The facility brings leading talent and investment to the region, enabling partnerships with the world’s largest companies and regional partners.

The engineering research hub and its state-of-the-art facilities invites collaboration between companies and academia, helping to bring people together through innovation.


design concept

Combining the facilities to support collaborative working

Our transformative design combines laboratory and office space to provide a unique ‘all-encompassing’ environment for academia-industry partnerships. The building is organised into three distinct and highly connected areas, a research office building, a laboratory and workshop block linked by a central atrium.

The strong aesthetic of the ‘collegiate’ campus design at Swansea Bay is neatly encapsulated in the facade design of the building.

The crisp, precast concrete panels and the red brick give a formal rhythm and human scale to the landscaped courtyard side of the building.

This is juxtaposed by the industrial, saw toothed metal clad workshop with generous expanses of glass, connecting people to the work being carried out inside. The two forms are delicately interconnected by a light, bright glazed atrium.

building excellence

Bringing it to life

Click the video to watch IMPACT come together.


Supporting high-quality working and learning through smart design


We carefully selected modern, minimalist materials and finishes to reflect the technology within, while maintaining the strong collegiate aesthetic of the campus.

Offices, laboratory and workshop are linked by a light, bright central atrium which provides a collaborative, informal meeting space as well as being a key contributor to environmental wellbeing.

Using a minimal and powerful palette, the reflections and visual connections through the subtle textures generate rhythm along the atrium space, highlighted by a sequence of intersections of volumes and openings.

Suspended within the atrium is a central, formal conference space, visually connecting the office and the workshop research spaces.

innovation and sustainability

Creating success through a multi-disciplinary way of working

The project brief was to encourage the integration of sustainable technologies. Our BREEAM Excellent design has accomplished this through the use of thermal solar collector technology, natural ventilation strategies, photovoltaic panels and a living wall, minimising the building’s greenhouse gas emissions and impact on the local and global environment.

The building features a 114 metres square ‘living wall’ of approximately 5,500 plants and flowers, to bring a new level of sustainability, provide home for wildlife and enhance the biodiversity of the site. The building is also home to nest boxes for swifts, sparrows and bats.

I’m delighted to see so many women leading their disciplines on this project, demonstrating the range of opportunities available.

Fiona Nixon

Head of Projects and Planning, Swansea University

social value

Supporting the local community and environment

IMPACT provides a positive contribution to Swansea University, the engineering sector, academics and researches, as well as the local community and environment.


total social impact
Economic, environmental benefit generated


Supporting apprentices, trainees, graduates, placement students


local SMEs spend


local subcontractor spend

114 m2

living wall on the north aspect


UK recycled plastics used
On the living wall support panels

key information

Project summary


Swansea, SA1 8EN


Swansea University




7,085 m2


BREEAM Excellent


Neath Port Talbot Building Excellence Awards 2020
Winner - Best Educational Building

Education Estates Awards 2020
Winner - Innovation in Delivery Value

SPACES: Society for Public Architecture, Construction, Engineering and Surveying Awards 2021
Winner - Education Category


Meet the team behind the project


Interested in
learning more?

Learn more about 'IMPACT Building' and other projects by reaching out to one of our team

Get in touch