Client University of South Wales
This dynamic social hub provides a distinct break from academia whilst reflecting the expectations of the 21st-century student. The previous Union had ‘run its course’ and no longer satisfied the requirements of a contemporary University.
The resultant RIBA-award-winning scheme involved the demolition and replacement of the existing Union with a contemporary 20,000ft2 facility. The concept involved the integration of social, administrative and learning accommodation in the building, raising its profile within the campus and harnessing the panoramic views across the valley.
It was important that the building was inclusive to all and gave students a sense of ownership; hence its external appearance expresses its function, offering transparency and engagement with its environment. Internally, the communal functions such as social learning, cafés and bars form the ‘heart’ of the building, reinforcing this ethos.
“Rio offers a break from tradition. They actually listen to what you want and try hard to create it in a way that is contemporary and, yes, exciting. It is like going to a tailor to fit for a suit – the end product is a bespoke product that is made to fit you and not off-the-peg. In the same way, Rio design buildings that have a unique flavour to them and are different from the rest. They are passionate about design and show great attention to detail. Enthusiasm is their middle name.”
Alun Woodruff – Head of Estates - University of Glamorgan