Work to demolish the vacant Technology House on Lissadel Road has started but the replacement building has been redesigned to better fit the wider £2.5bn Salford Crescent masterplan.
The University of Salford’s £13m North of England Robotics Innovation Centre, designed by 5plus Architects, is to be located close to the proposed Salford Rise infrastructure project within the masterplan’s Innovation District.
Salford Rise comprises a podium over Frederick Road aimed at improving connectivity between two University of Salford campuses.
To accommodate the piece of infrastructure and better fit the overarching design strategy for the Innovation District, certain changes to the nearby robotics hub have been made.
The centre has been scaled back slightly from 22,500 sq ft to 21,000 sq ft and the appearance of the building is now much darker under the refreshed plans intended to match the “industrial aesthetic made from utilitarian materials of industrial brick and metal, concrete and steel”, proposed in the Crescent masterplan.
Salford Rise was added to the masterplan by Salford Council’s Crescent delivery consortium English Cities Fund after plans for the robotics facility had already been approved.
To be built by Morgan Sindall Construction, the centre is to house robotics and manufacturing labs, teaching space and an automotive laboratory.
Disciplines to be explored and researched at the robotics centre include industry use of robotics for intelligent infrastructure, digital automation and supply chain improvement, and health, wellbeing and integrated care technologies.
The centre is intended to enable the university’s robotics and automation specialists to expand their work with SMEs around the country.
Planning approval for the original iteration of the project was granted in September 2019 and in June 2020, the scheme received a £6.5m funding boost from the European Regional Development Fund.
The project team includes Buro Happold Engineering, Ameon, RoC Consulting, and Faithful & Gould.