University of Bath to develop unique research park in Swindon

A new project from the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering is set to develop a unique research park in Swindon that will allow researchers and construction companies from across the country to develop and to explore innovative building materials.

The park will be situated on Science Museum land at Wroughton airfield, and the project is being led by Dr Mike Lawrence from the University's BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials.

The first project being developed at the research park is a £1m ground-breaking building called the HIVE, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). This building will allow researchers to study low carbon, low impact construction materials which could be used to make a real difference to the future of construction both in the UK and worldwide.

Dr Lawrence said: “Laboratory research has identified the potential to use renewable natural materials in construction. Experimentation and study using HIVE is an essential stage in understanding just how these materials will perform in the real world, and how best to use them in novel low impact construction technologies.

“The HIVE will provide space for this fundamental research to be carried out. Bath researchers will use the facility for their work in this and other areas of innovative construction technology. In addition, it will be available to researchers around the country and overseas to follow their own lines of enquiry, making the HIVE a global centre for research into low impact construction.

“An added feature of the HIVE is that it will allow the materials and systems developed by researchers to be prototyped and tested in the field by the construction industry, making it a facility which can take blue skies thinking all the way through to mainstream construction in the shortest possible time.”

The HIVE aims to become an internationally renowned Centre for Excellence. To achieve this, the space will be equipped with the very latest technologies for testing construction materials.

Swindon Borough Council has given planning permission for the research park and construction of the HIVE will begin in the autumn.

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