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The Revisiting & Revitalizing of an Iconic Institution

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Techniquest Cardiff is one of the UK’s longest established Science Centres and having been in the existing building since 1995, the decision was made to transform and expand the building.  HLM Architects’ design has created a new modern environment, providing almost  900 sqm of additional exhibition and commercial hire space, almost doubling the size and making it more financially viable.

The project forms a key part of Techniquest’s mission to extend and diversify its audiences with innovative, contemporary science to ensure a sustainable long-term future in Wales.

Lesley Kirkpatrick, Chief Executive Officer at Techniquest chats to Business News Wales about the renovation.

Lesley said:

“It started back in 2016 with the launch of the Inspiring Science Fund. The fund was all about revisiting and revitalizing [science] venues and also, looking to help us all develop sustainable development programmes for the future.”

Lesley describes how her team met with HLM Architects in 2018 and how it was “clear that they understood the brief”. And so, a transformational project began…

The choice of cladding material was carefully considered to contrast not only in colour but also in texture, reflectivity, and scale, giving a dynamic, instantly recognizable appearance within Cardiff Bay – and a nod to the industrial heritage of the area.  The glazing was selected to insight interest in the centre, by providing onlookers with a glimpse of the new interior and exhibitions.

By relocating the entrance piazza, the building now embraces Cardiff Bay and improves the relationship to the locality. The new landscape is cohesive and robust, created by using high quality hard and soft materials reflecting those of the building and its location. The landscape’s design language uses form, line, texture and colour to create a narrative of simplicity and clarity, integrating it with the original Techniquest building.  Aspects of the landscape also provide interest and excitement, giving opportunities for thoughtfulness and discovery, which is the ethos of Techniquest.

The finished design offers visitors a modern, exciting Science Centre, one that responds to and compliments the iconic existing building.

Matthew Thomas, an associate at HLM Architects says:

“Many of us grew up visiting this centre as children before bringing our own children, and we recognised the need to address some of the faults such as the location of the entrance near a busy, dangerous road. Our vision was not an expansion, but rather a reimagining of the entire space that both celebrated the industrial heritage and connected visitors with the bay. Thanks to our thoughtful design approach, the result is a very striking contemporary building seamlessly integrated with the existing building, which will help ensure the future and longevity of Techniquest for many years to come,”

We’re sure that the newly re-imagined Techniquest will indeed be adored for years to come!

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In 1963, students David Hutchison, Graham Locke and Tony Monk (HLM) won a design competition for the new Paisley Civic Centre and this would lead to the formation of Hutchison Locke and Monk (now HLM Architects) in 1964.

The Paisley project was the second largest public sector project since the second world war and this iconic public building became the foundations from which our social architecture philosophy would grow. HLM Architects has subsequently built a reputation for design excellence and expertise across our key sectors with a focus on solving our client’s challenges and mindful of the impact that design can have on people, communities and society.

Places of education that inspire, healthcare environments that nurture, homes that are part of thriving communities, and infrastructure that is sustainable in every sense. It is this sense of social purpose that drives us on and is at the heart of everything we do.

Our services cover Architecture, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Masterplanning and Environmental Sustainability.

 

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