Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

An Eye for Innovation


Cardiff Uni

The Oculus staircase, a first of its kind in the UK, forms the showpiece of Cardiff University’s forthcoming sbarc | spark building.

A sculptural, open staircase, offset between floors, travelling through a slanting void, the Oculus takes its name from its concept: 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 via the adjacent lift core.

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

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

Bouygues UK and Cardiff University are transforming a former disused rail yard, located at Maindy Park in the heart of Cardiff, into a state-of-the-art campus for social science-led research, high-tech job creation, student start-ups, plus expertise in the physical sciences of catalysis and Compound Semiconductors in a new Translational Research Hub.

The sbarc | spark building will be the University’s ‘front-door for business’, consisting of two distinct components in a home for c.800 people, of which approximately half will be from external organisations.

SPARK, the world’s first social science research park will co-locate leading researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. Cardiff [email protected] – the University’s space for spinouts and start-ups – will work hand-in-hand with collaborators to grow new ventures – from small-scale student enterprises through to established private, publica and third sector organisations with flexible tenancy options.

World-leading academics, student and graduate entrepreneurs and business-facing professional services will be based here, offering access to expertise from across the University and from industry as well as professional business advisors. Come and join us – click here to find out more…