Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus – one year on

The Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus (TQEC) provides us with a robust, unique and exciting response to the needs of our students, staff, partners and society. It offers a new landscape, with fresh opportunities for partnerships, interdisciplinary research and education and civic engagement.

As the TQEC site develops, that landscape is literally taking shape: new buildings are rising, old structures are being repurposed, and the scale of activity is mounting. TQEC continues to be a catalyst for developments in the wider Bristol Temple Quarter area – one of the biggest regeneration projects in the UK.

It’s been just over a year since contracts were signed to begin work at the main site of the new campus. In that time, construction of the 38,000m2 main building has progressed rapidly, and further facilities are developing in the area. Here, we present some of the highlights over the past year.

Bricks and mortar (in truth, steel, concrete and lots of glass)

A construction site.
Progress at the main building, end of May 2024.

Construction of the main building kicked off in May 2023 with an extensive, complex programme of groundwork. Piling was completed by the end of August. The sheer scale of the work is reflected in the fact that if the 554 piles now in place were lined up end-to-end, they would stretch nearly 14,000 metres – roughly as high as the Andes sitting on top of the Himalayas!

The site currently hosts three tower cranes, which are used to construct the reinforced concrete frame as the building rises out of the ground throughout 2024. By the end of May 2024, work on the frame had reached the fifth storey.

Off site, prefabrication of components such as glass/aluminium cladding, mechanical and electrical modules and the feature staircase are all making great progress. This approach enables us to support apprenticeships and saves unproductive work when conditions are difficult on site.

Earlier in May, Craig Nowell, TQEC Development Programme Director, summarised the development and progress so far:

Making the connection: the Eastern Entrance

Network Rail began work on the new Eastern Entrance at Bristol Temple Meads Station in October 2023. This vital piece of infrastructure will improve connectivity between the east of Bristol and the city centre via the campus, helping to achieve our vision for a porous, bustling place. It will also provide convenient and sustainable travel options for our staff and students to come to work and study.

The steel frame shell of the building has now been fully installed and it’s on track to open along with our new development in 2026. Read more about recent progress on the Eastern Entrance.

A local focus

TQEC is a major focal point for our civic ambitions, with plans for a rich array of new facilities, programmes, resources and events that will bring tangible benefits for both the University and the city.

Bristol Dental School’s new facilities – a vibrant and welcoming space providing vital services.

Bristol Dental School moved to Avon Street in September 2023, a short walk from the site of the main campus development. ITV’s recent report spotlighted the vital work of student dentists bringing much-needed appointments to the city and their work is a clear indicator of the positive impacts we can bring to Bristol.

“We’re now registered with the Care Quality Commission, making us the first UK higher education institution to provide clinical care directly to members of the public”, says James Tubman, Senior School Manager. “We’ve also been supporting the work of the NHS across the city by taking on over 400 patients for treatments and around 150 patient referrals from the Dental Hospital, which has helped ease their waiting lists. Our Dental Clinical Services Manager has recruited 286 children from local schools who don’t have a registered dentist to be seen and treated at the Dental School. We’ve also been working with the BrisDoc GP service, to pilot a scheme to treat homeless patients.”

An innovative ecosystem

The new campus sits at the heart of an emerging innovation district. Our new neighbours range from major companies and government offices to startups, local businesses and civic organisations. TQEC brings our state-of-the-art facilities into a thriving ecosystem for students, staff, partners and the community to co-create solutions to vital challenges that impact our society.

Over the past year, ‘The Sheds’ on Avon Street has been progressing closer to completion. This space will bring together Bristol Digital Futures Institute (BDFI) and MyWorld in unique facilities to advance digital and creative technologies in an equitable and sustainable way.

The Sheds will house world-first research equipment such as the Reality Emulator, a ‘digital twin’ facility enabling users from any sector to recreate any situation – or generate potential future scenarios – using AI and large data sets. The build of the Reality Emulator reached an exciting milestone in March 2024 with the installation of the ‘halo’, a suspended structure spanning eight metres which will supply power and network to the immersive suite, allowing digital models to be created using real-time data. The immersive suite is currently being constructed and is scheduled to join the halo in the facilities over the summer.

Also nearby are our innovation projects like Engine Shed and SETSquared, which was recently ranked in the top three startup hubs in Europe and top in the UK. The new incubator in development with Science Creates, OMX, is progressing rapidly nearby. OMX was kickstarted by a £4.75-million award from the Research England Development fund and is an exciting example of the way in which TQEC is encouraging further innovative developments in Temple Quarter.

Looking ahead

An aerial view of the city and our campus development at its heart.

Carla Hill, Senior Project Manager for Research, Enterprise and Innovation at TQEC, is among many involved in the site’s development who are looking forward to seeing it come to fruition.

“I’ve lived in Bristol for over 25 years, and it’s amazing to see part of the city coming to life with something that wasn’t here before’” Carla says. “We’ll have new ways of working together with the city, and with external partners. It’ll change the University and it’s really exciting to be part of that.”

Ahead of opening in 2026, we’ll continue to forge new and strengthening existing partnerships, seeking input and vision from an array of people and organisations to develop a truly welcoming and innovative place.

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