The Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus (TQEC) Research Hub is the first completed component of the wider University of Bristol Innovation Campus, which aims to regenerate a large post-industrial site in the heart of the city.
The TQEC Research Hub project reinvents two Victorian industrial buildings that were once part of the Bristol Gas Light Company: the Retort House, which can be dated back to 1821, and the Coal Shed, circa 1885. The sheds are located in the Silverthorne Lane conservation area to the east of Bristol Temple Meads Station and the University’s Cattle Market Road academic development.
The design principles for the new research facility focus on a light touch approach, making the most of the buildings’ idiosyncrasies while also delivering a high-quality academic building that suits the needs of its users. TQEC Research Hub provide dedicated state-of-the-art research facilities for the Bristol Digital Futures Institute, creating specialist facilities, workspaces, collaboration areas, and training and meeting rooms for 250 staff, researchers, partners and collaborators.
The sheds’ existing stone walls have been cleaned and re-pointed, and are left exposed to reveal the natural colour and pattern of the stone and brickwork. The existing metal roof trusses have been retained and refurbished, and the original high-level lunettes in the north west wall reinstated. A new bolt-on entrance portal marks the entrance to the repurposed buildings.
Another new addition to the site is the Data Centre building, whose structure utilises an industrial language of shipping containers and lightweight transparent panels. This new building houses a key feature of the research centre, the TQEC Research Hub’s quantum computer; the semi-transparent panels allow visitor and building users to observe the inner workings of the ‘brain’.