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Haydn Ellis Building, Cardiff University by IBI Nightingale

The colourful exterior and landscaping complement the surroundings of the Haydn Ellis Building at Cardiff University, writes Richard Golledge

The architect’s view

The Hadyn Ellis Building is the first phase of the emerging Science and Innovation Campus for Cardiff University. The building provides a mix of laboratory research, office, lecture and seminar accommodation.

Acting as a ‘front-door’ to the campus, the Hadyn Ellis building is welcoming, spacious and inclusive. The colourful exterior and landscaping complement its surroundings, while the transparency of the glass facade provides an enticing view into the bustling atrium and exhibition areas.

A feature concrete staircase rises through the four-storey atrium with open balconies allowing a visual connection between those visiting and those working within the building, while link bridges stride across the
atrium to provide a physical relationship between dry and wet laboratory spaces.

A controlled use of construction materials and colour create identity and act as a natural wayfinding tool, effectively guiding researchers to their destination. The building has been designed to a BREEAM Excellent rating.

  • Richard Golledge, Cardiff studio associate director, IBI Nightingale

Project data

Start on site May 2011
Completion April 2013
Gross internal floor area 9,889m²
Construction cost £18.7 million
Cost per m² £1,891
Architect IBI Nightingale
Client Cardiff University
Structural engineer BDP
M&E consultant AECOM
Quantity surveyor Capita Symonds
Ecologist Aecom
BREEAM consultant MorganSindall
Landscape architect Powell Dobson Urbanists, Davies Landscape Architects
Project manager Cardiff University
CDM coordinator Bowen Safety
Approved building inspector LABC
Main contractor BAM Construction
CAD software used MicroStation
Estimated annual CO2 emissions 21.04kg/m²

Specified products

Exposed concrete structure, soffits, feature internal walls and main staircase

Thames Valley Construction

Curtain walling system (building adjacent street and central atrium)

Schüco FW50+SG incorporating Saint-Gobain Emalit and bespoke coloured glazing panels, RAL7030 PPC aluminium,

Zinc panel rainscreen cladding (fourth floor)

VMZinc interlocking horizontal panels, quartz zinc

Zinc standing seam cladding (lecture theatre)

VMZinc standing seam, quartz zinc

Terracotta tile rainscreen cladding (building adjacent to railway line), ‘baguette’ louvres

James and Taylor, Alphaton, hellgrau, standard and grooved finish

Acoustic panelling

Gustafs Panel System, SH 5, ash finish

Tiling (atrium café and exhibition space)

Domus Concept 1200 x 600mm, DMRC04

Bespoke joinery (reception and café)

IWC and Limebright subcontractors, ash timber/veneer finish (reception and café), Limebright LG Hausys Hi-Macs, black (reception),,

Fabric (blinds and furniture)

Vescom Flint Trevira cs, 8001.03/33 (blinds), Furka Plus, vinyl, 7019.28/33/38 (furniture),


Leaderflush Shapland solid core, colour laminates with ash lippings

Flooring (office areas)

InterfaceFlor, Duet, Thunder finish


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