Bath architects to steer design of university’s world-beating £60m automotive research centre

December 6, 2017

The University of Bath has appointed two local firms of architects to design its pioneering car-of-the-future research facility due to open in 2020.


Stride Treglown, which has an office in the city, is lead consultant on the £60m project and will design the overall building envelope, office spaces and site-wide development, pictured.


The firm, which is headquartered in Bristol and has nine offices across the UK and in Abu Dhabi, has already worked with the university on the centre, producing the feasibility study and providing visuals for the proposed development.


Bath-based DKA, which has a strong track record in engineering, research and development, will apply its specialist automotive expertise to develop and coordinate the design of the complex testing facilities.


The Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS), to be built on the Bristol and Bath Science Park, will be a global centre of excellence boasting research and innovation that will transform the way vehicles are designed and manufactured.


It will lead the development of future generations of ultra-low emission vehicles and create an innovative automotive industry cluster in the South West by providing access to its state-of-the art facilities to regional start-ups and small to medium-sized companies.


A planning application will be submitted early next year with construction work likely to start next summer.


Project lead and vice president (implementation) at the University of Bath, Prof Steve Egan, said: “We are delighted to have chosen Stride Treglown and DKA as the architects for this very significant research facility. IAAPS will enable the university to build on its 40 years of automotive research excellence in collaboration with some of the world’s leading companies.


“We are really pleased to have been able to appoint architects who will help us realise our ambition and design a facility that will help ensure the UK not only maintains, but expands its global position within the automotive sector.”


Stride Treglown, the South West’s largest firm of architects and one of the biggest in the UK, has previously designed other buildings for the University of Bath, including teaching facilities and student accommodation, and both phases of the National Composite Centre on the Bristol & Bath Science Park.


Associate architect James Horner said: “We’re very excited to have the opportunity to be working with the university again, this time to build a new home for world-class engineering expertise.


“We look forward to applying our recent experience of designing other similar facilities and our considerable user-centred design expertise to this important scheme.”


DKA director James Bastable added: “This is a world-class facility and one we are all very excited to be involved with. The testing and research and development spaces will be a major component in the success of the facility and we look forward to working with the University of Bath and its industry and supply chain partners to ensure that the project exceeds expectations.”


IAAPS is forecast to stimulate more than £67m in additional automotive research investment by 2025, creating an additional £800m turnover for the UK automotive sector and supporting nearly 1,900 new, highly productive jobs.


Specialist facilities will make IAAPS a centre of excellence for training and skills development in automotive engineering, supporting new apprenticeships, honours degrees, masters and doctoral courses, helping to address the engineering skills shortage facing the UK automotive sector.


Global companies such as McLaren, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover, as well as more local businesses such as additive manufacturing pioneer HiETA Technologies, also based on the Bristol & Bath Science Park, have been involved the IAAPS concept. 


IAAPS has received capital investment of £28.9m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and £10m jointly from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).



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