In May 2009 Lawray was appointed by Glyndwr University to develop proposals for the Creative Industries Building on the Plas Coch campus in Wrexham. This keynote building is the first of a long-term strategic development of the University across North East Wales.

The University has recognised the growth in the Creative Industries sector as an important part of the economic development of this region and is bringing together the skills within its existing Schools of Art, Computer Science, Humanities and Media to create a centre of excellence for them. This new building will provide specialist learning areas but also spaces for social interaction for students on differing courses and with emerging enterprises.

As a keynote building its location was important. The existing main campus building, built in the 1950s is on the main approach to Wrexham. This building was placed in front of this listed structure as a symbol of the new University status which Glyndŵr achieved in 2008.  The design of this new accommodation against the listed building required a radical approach.

The new Creative Industries Building grows out of the grass embankment in front of the 1950s structure. It sweeps away to ensure the landmark of the existing clock tower remains dominant.  The new building rises from a low single storey up to a two and a half storey height studio area in a shell–like form.  The integration into the landscape is reinforced by having a ‘green’ roof over the whole building.

The exterior is clad in new materials but with a brick tile facing the older building as a reference to its appearance with geometric cladding to the other faces.  The south elevation is entirely glazed, opening out on to the mature 1950s lawns which are a feature of the existing campus.

Internally the building combines closed studios for learning and developing practical, computing and media skills together with a large two-storey open social learning platform which is the focus for students, staff and emerging companies to interact.

In line with most new higher education buildings this will achieve BREEAM Excellent. The green roof which ties the building into its setting has been mentioned but this also enhances the ecological value of this site.  Photovoltaic panels are used as a brise soliel  but also demonstrate some of the optics technologies in which Glyndŵr University is a world leader.  The selection of energy sources and of materials further create a building of low energy use.

The design was developed through 2009 and the contractor, ISG Regions was appointed in December so work started on site in January 2010. The building is due to be fully operational for the second semester in early 2011.

The design of the proposed new building for the Creative Industries has the following  environmentally-sustainable design features :

  • Air to air source heat pumps are used to provide the heating demand which is delivered by under floor heating.
  • All toilets are supplied from recycled rainwater collected from the roof.
  • A small area of photovoltaic panels will be incorporated on the roof to generate some electricity.
  • External paving will be to SUDS design
  • The building will have a green roof to provide a high thermal mass which reduces the demand for quick response energy.
  • In line with current policy many of the internal spaces of the building will be naturally lit and ventilated.

The site is sustainably located on a bus route and close to a railway station. The site is well located in relation to the existing campus and all students from the four faculties who will use this building for specialist learning activities are able to walk to the site.

The proposed building is designed to be sustainable, both measurable under current standards, but also as an ethos. A major feature within the new building are the interactive displays which advise users of these sustainable design measures.

Building Information

Breeam Rating: Excellent

Total Site Area: 0.637 hectares
Gross Floor Area: 1319m2

Total cost: £2,412 / m2 – fully inclusive
Basic build costs: £1,471 / m2 – no services / externals / fees / p sums etc
Services costs: £677 / m2
External costs: £117 / m2

Predicted Electricity Consumption: 44 kWh/m²
Predicted Fossil Fuel Consumption: 14 kWh/m²
Predicted Renewable Energy Generation: 2 kWh/m² (PV array only)
Predicted Water use: 160 m³/year
% predicted water use to be provided by rainwater: 40%

Schedule of Accommodation

Ref Description(m²)
01  Flexible Design Studio 80 
02 3d Modelling Workshop 90 
03  IT Workshop 120 
04  Multi-purpose (TV) Studio 100 
05  Media Training (Apple) 70 
06  Innovation Launch Pad 30 
07 Post-Production Suite 30 
08 Social Learning Platform 60 
09 Meeting Room 20 
10 Tutors Touchdown 25 
12 Technical Staff Work Room 50 
13 Control Room 15 
14 Machine Room
15 Server Room 10 
16 Prop. Store 15 
17 Staff Store
18 Media Training Store 10 
19 3d Modelling Store 10 
20 Flexible Studio Store 10 
21 Changing Room 10 
22 Female Toilets 20 
23 Male Toilets  20 
24 Disabled Toilet (G) 
25 Disabled Toilet (F) 
26 Cleaners' Room (S) 
27 Plant Rooms  120 
28 Circulation  160
   TOTAL 1103