• Client Bridgend College

  • Type School Building

  • Location Bridgend

Distinctive architecture and a design driven by net zero carbon and Passivhaus principles captures core values and beliefs of an educational institution.  

Bridgend College’s new campus, designed by Rio Architects, is planned to be built on a former police station and multi-storey car park site in Bridgend Town Centre. The college will relocate from its Cowbridge Road campus. Plans for the circa. 13,100m2 campus, have been formally submitted for planning permission and will reflect the college’s future curriculum needs in a functional purpose-built development.

The existing police station and multi-storey car park sites are prime for redevelopment, as identified in the Bridgend County Borough Council masterplan for the town centre. This development by Bridgend College, will be a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the area. It will bring with it an increase in footfall, and given the public uses proposed within the building, it will contribute positively to the night-time economy in the town.

The project forms a centre piece of the college’s 5-year strategic plan following the completion of its award-winning STEAM Academy in Pencoed.

Since its beginnings in 1923, Bridgend College continues to grow as an inclusive and diverse college offering an extensive range of courses.With over 850 students to support through its higher education courses, the college’s new campus will be future-proofed to reflect the changing needs of learning and teaching spaces.

A Responsive and Resilient Design

Drawing people into the main building through its primary entrance facing Brackla Street, the building will connect to a smaller second building on Cheapside Road via the central hub and outdoor courtyard space. Through these key nodal points, an environment conducive to learning, socialising, and relaxing will naturally emerge.

The main campus building, in its doughnut arrangement, will promote natural light within the teaching spaces, provide a natural outlook and create an opportunity for a green oasis at the heart of the development that can be used as an informal communal and teaching space.

Featuring a 200-seat auditorium and a café bar space, the primary building will have a public function contributing to the cultural offering, public realm and the local economy.

The campus will include, but not be limited to: Performing Arts, Art, Music and Editing, Hair and Beauty, Café / Conference / Flexible Working Spaces, Catering and Hospitality, and Care and Childhood Studies departments.

As a result of its built-in flexibility, the campus space is designed to support learning and teaching, adapt to future changes in teaching practices and curriculums and capture the core values and beliefs of the college as an educational institution.

The design will be rich in biodiversity and integrate renewable energy sources to improve energy efficiency and ensure compliance with the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Communities for Learning programme to achieve net zero carbon and BREEAM (Excellent) with the use of Passivhaus solutions.

Interior Design for a Memorable Experience

Our interior architecture team have developed a bespoke interior scheme for the facility, creating a cohesive and connected experience that flows from the external spaces through to the interior. A series of public realm spaces will connect the two buildings and create a pleasant connection to nature through light-filled corridors into the green internal courtyard.

The internal environment will be visually stimulating and vibrant. Design touches include a mixture of textured upholstery and leathers, natural timber finishes, a variety of soft seating, work area furniture, a bespoke reception, feature lighting, wayfinding and supergraphics throughout the facility.

Working in partnership with a multi-disciplinary team comprising Capita, AECOM, Asbri Planning, Soltys Brewster and Bridgend College, work on the new campus is expected to break ground in 2023 subject to planning approval. It is expected to open in time for the academic year in September 2025 and, once completed, will set a design standard for future large-scale developments in the area.

“Following the success of STEAM Academy in Pencoed, we are delighted to be working with Bridgend College again to help realise their vision for a new net-zero carbon campus on this site in Bridgend Town Centre. As well as providing first-class teaching facilities for their evolving and growing curriculum, the campus will be an asset to the town centre, contributing to the economy and vitality of Bridgend.” Ffion Elin Lanchbury, Director and Architect

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

We are proud to showcase this project to its fullest potential through our inspiring photo-realistic still imagery and animation, providing CGI visualisation in a language that represents our client's ambitions.