U.K. architectural practice FaulknerBrowns Architects has completed the Menai Science Park (M-SParc), the first dedicated science park in Wales with a focus on the sectors of low-carbon energy, ICT (information and communication technologies) and the environment. Located west of the Menai Straits on the island of Anglesey, North Wales, the £15.5 million (nearly $20 million USD) campus includes co-working spaces with offices, laboratories and workshops. Designed to encourage innovation, the solar-powered building is wrapped in large, glazed panels that let in an ample amount of natural light and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
The Welsh Government and the nearby Bangor University established the Menai Science Park to support emerging and existing businesses in the science and technology sectors. The building is strategically located close to the main arterial route on the island for easy access to local businesses, including the Wylfa Nuclear Power Station. Existing and emerging businesses are invited to rent the individual tenancy spaces in Menai Science Park and join a commercial community built on sharing knowledge and expertise.
To encourage collaboration, the architects inserted a multipurpose “open innovation space” that serves as a meeting point, events venue and a touch-down space connected to the main circulation “ring” linking all of the individual tenancies. “[The building] is defined by the concept of a folded ribbon of white material which extends out of the surrounding landscape, twists and bends to form the edges of the space, before arcing back down into the site,” FaulknerBrowns Architects said. “Thermoformed Corian, a material typically used in laboratory benching, offered the right combination of plasticity and durability to create the ribbon in the form of fluid rainscreen panels.”
The campus was also created with a strong focus on sustainability and nature. The building is not only formed around a central landscaped courtyard but is also clad in large glazed panels that frame views of the outdoors, including the spectacular Snowdonia mountain range in the southeast. Photovoltaic panels have been installed on the ground level and combined with traditional cloddiau stone walls, which the architects said “offer a visible commitment to low-carbon energy.”
Images by Richard Chivers via FaulknerBrowns Architects