Recycled glass as an architectural application for the new UWTSD Campus at SA1

Last year staff and students from University of Wales Trinity Saint David were engaged in an exciting new project at the SA1 Swansea Waterfront development to produce a reception desk made from recycled glass.

The group aimed to design and build the main reception desk using broken bottle glass in an interdisciplinary showcase involving undergraduate students. It also included a wide range of research staff including Ian Standen a Senior Lecturer on the University’s new BSc Architecture programme as well as Lara Hopkinson, Allan Nantel and Dr Juan Ferriz-Papi from the school of Built and Natural Environments. The engineering aspect were overseen by Dr Gregory Owen and Lisa Burkl, who were the Programme Director on BA Glass (Architectural Arts) also collaborated.

The project were based on a highly innovative field of research which investigates the feasibility of low temperature fused recycled glass as an architectural material. It is an area of study that developed by Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees, working with recycled glass in design and construction. She were also the Project Manager who oversaw the work as it developed. She said: “This project is an example of up-cycling a waste material (in this case bottle glass) into a high value architectural design application with a strong artistic merit. Both staff and students have been very excited to be involved in this interdisciplinary project linking creative talent to its strong environment, sustainable and recycling credentials.”

The brief was set by the Kier construction staff at the SA1 Swansea Waterfront development. As well as the input of research and teaching staff from the university, the project were divided in smaller sub-projects and run as separate undergraduate student projects from the different Schools and Faculties. Students studying Architecture, Glass (Architectural Arts), Project and Construction Management, and Engineering have combined their talents to complete the project, even designing and constructing a bespoke glass crusher.

Dr Oseng-Rees said: “UWTSD, Kier Group and Stride Treglown have been very supportive and enthusiastic about the project, understanding how the use of recycled architectural glass can enhance the wellbeing of people who visit the new buildings and how the university’s reputation on environmental and sustainability issues can go hand-in-hand, with the creative industries and mutually reinforce each other.”

Phase 1 of the £300 million development is well underway and will see the creation of new facilities for the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, Faculty of Education and Communities as well as new library facilities.

The University’s vision for SA1 Swansea Waterfront is to create a neighborhood with academic activity at its core to attract companies to collocate with the University to exploit knowledge, develop skills, support existing companies and attract new investment into the region. 

The innovative development will include purpose-built facilities for learning, teaching and applied research, as well as social and recreational spaces for use by the University and wider community in the heart of the city center. 

New enterprise hubs will be created together with high skill accelerator schemes, to grow new businesses linked to the universities portfolio, to further develop the skills of current businesses and attract new investment into the region.

Jana Klerlikova Art glass student

Jana Klerlikova Art glass student

Recycled glass panels for reception desk design interation

Recycled glass panels for reception desk design interation

David Halley making samples for impact testing of the recycled glass

David Halley making samples for impact testing of the recycled glass