university of wales newport buildings small

Opus worked with the university, architects and contractor on this important project

We provided civil, structural, geotechnical and hydrological advice on the many challenges to be overcome before the site could be developed.

This building’s design uses the characteristics of the site – a narrow strip of land adjacent to the river in close proximity to the city centre– to create a landmark building. Its transparency through the use of glass and ‘flying roof’ structure creates an iconic environment that encourages interaction between the interior and exterior.

The building is an example of sustainability and urban regeneration. To achieve this, the client set two distinct goals: a BREEAM rating of excellence, and a carbon reduction 10% below current UK building regulations. These targets will be achieved through careful selection of building materials and reducing the need for energy through a number of efficiency measures.

We worked with the client, the architectural design team (BDP) and the contractor (HGB Construction), providing civil, structural, geotechnical and hydrological advice on the many challenges to be overcome before the site could be developed. 

A legacy of site contamination, buried obstructions and river wall supports has shaped the remediation and foundation strategy for the new building. In addition, the river corridor is protected under an environmental covenant as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area for Conservation (SAC).

The River Usk has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world. It was important to ensure the building was at a level that would not be affected by the tide. We used a dynamic flood model to determine the level and duration of tidal flooding, and set the building threshold above this level.

Opus worked closely with the design team to ensure that the reinforced concrete structure contributed to the acoustic and thermal performance of the building. The flat slab structure allows free zones for the routing of services around the building. We analysed the structure in a three-dimensional model with finite element analysis of the floor plates.