Centre for Student Life

Constructing Excellence

A truly ‘landmark’ project, creating a new gateway to the world-leading Cardiff University.

The Centre for Student Life is a five-storey building that brings together support services previously housed in disparate locations across the university estate. It includes an advice bar and counselling rooms, informal study and common areas, staff offices and a 550-seat lecture theatre. The project features a 140m long colonnade, with in-situ concrete columns that soar to over 13m high, making spectacular use of the site directly adjacent to the railway line and Cathays train station. The colonnade is its public face, veiling the largely glazed facade and quietly echoing the Portland stone neoclassicism of the university’s main building, which stands opposite across the busy thoroughfare of Park Place, a city-centre conservation area .

The facilities are designed to attract and secure academic conferences, host Alumni events, University receptions and dinners, including a versatile and flexible atrium space. This translated into 30 purpose-built consultation spaces, combining counselling rooms, consultation spaces and workshop rooms, staff offices and a key feature being social study space for students, integrated in the café, circulation and atrium areas.

The Centre for Student Life provides a vastly improved connection to the existing Student Union building, located on the far side of the railway line, and now fully integrated within the University estate. Access to the Student Union had to be maintained throughout the construction programme, guaranteeing safe access and egress for 4,000 students attending social gatherings day and night, including demolition of existing buildings, enabling works and full construction. This, coupled with the immediately adjacent railway line and highway, presented a major health and safety challenge. The project was completed without any closures to the Student Union, railway line and Park Place, requiring huge logistical, planning and health and safety input from the BAM team and appointed subcontract supply chain.


Three Winning Facts:
  1. Project successfully delivered whilst maintaining full access to adjoining Student Union, rail line and Park Place.
  2. Project successfully delivered with zero incidents.
  3. Project substantially delivered during full lockdown.