Aberystwyth University invests in a new 21st Century laboratory 

Aberystwyth University offers exceptional learning and working environments and is well known for its postgraduate teaching and facilities. The Universities on-going commitment is to provide learners with the best possible facilities as well as a quality education by research-led teaching staff.

The Brief

As part of their wider investment strategy which has seen a total of more than £9m spent on upgrading teaching spaces across the University, over half a million pound was allocated in creating a new 21st century scientific laboratory for the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences.

"With the short turnaround time scales to complete the project, working with a main contractor which isn’t always easy and with the project also being a live site, they met the challenge head on. We was extremely happy with the end result and would highly recommend Innova”

"[Nia Jeremiah, Architect, University of Aberystwyth]

The C66 Kidson room in the Llandinam building on Penglais Campus has been used as a teaching laboratory since the 1970s when it was converted from a former library. In order to improve the student experience, accommodate time-tabling efficiencies and longer practicals, the laboratory was in need of a 21st century upgrade.

Following a competitive tendering process, Innova Design Group, interior education specialists, were appointed to design, manufacture and install the furniture for the new cutting-edge laboratories.

An additional challenge of the project due to time constraint was term time working and keeping disruption to a minimum whilst the Geography department carried on with the teaching time table as normal, around the campus.

The Solution

Working in partnership with the client and contractor W.J.G Evans & Sons, the traditional style chemistry and physical analysis laboratory, was transformed into an inspirational, flexible, multi-functional learning environment, which now accommodates more students, increases lecturing efficiencies and freedom to adapt to new teaching style, harnesses the latest multimedia technology, allows more modern methods for conducting experiments and recording data, greatly enhances the student learning experience in physical geography and earth and environmental sciences.

The new layout features both row of fixed benching and perimeter units and benching, housing sinks and electrical services for students to work in groups.  Gas services are now located around the perimeter with plenty of storage to house specialist equipment and glassware.  Additional storage has been incorporated at the back of the room as well as the alcoves, freeing up valuable bench space for practical and theory sessions instead of storing equipment. Student distractions are now minimised and more focused on their learning.

An injection of colour has been added through a vibrant green feature wall, to move away from a typical clinical laboratory and demonstrate that geography can be fun, vibrant and creative.

“From the onset we have been confident in Innova as a specialist laboratory supplier, specifically in higher education."

"[Nia Jeremiah, Architect, University of Aberystwyth]

The full installation was carried out during term time and therefore important to minimise disruption to students and staff across the university.  The Estates team managed the transition seamlessly by re-locating lectures around the campus and keeping relevant academics and staff regularly informed on the status of the project.

The initial reaction from staff and students has been fantastic, the staff didn’t expect the room to be so spacious, the circulation works wonders, they love the furniture and the whole room has transformed the way the space can be utilised.  Students are inspired and eager to study in the new laboratory – The end result is a real WOW factor!

The state-of-the-art scientific laboratory was officially opened on the 12th July by Dr David Blaney, the Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW).


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