Cassidy + Ashton provides sustainability-focussed vision for expansion of Wrexham tourist attraction

Cassidy + Ashton’s Chester team has been appointed the architectural and design consultancy for the expansion of a popular tourist attraction in Wrexham that will also focus on sustainability.

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Xplore! Science Discovery Centre, located in Wrexham’s city centre, is planning the development of an upstairs space to expand on its existing 80 exhibits and workshops, while ensuring the updates to the building reduce its carbon footprint and make it energy efficient.

The initial building improvements have been made possible through the Shared Prosperity Fund, with 248 photovoltaic (PV) panels, new roofing, and insulation to be installed by September 2024.

In addition, the £1.5m funding from the UK government has enabled Xplore! to invest in research to expand the centre’s offering through the most carbon friendly means, working with market researchers, exhibit consultants, and Cassidy + Ashton as the appointed architects, to create a detailed upstairs plan.

Architect Dan Thorpe, from Cassidy + Ashton’s Chester office said: ‘It’s great having the opportunity to work with the Xplore! team on both the delivery of the roof works and the first-floor expansion of the exhibition space.

“The science discovery centre is a fantastic resource, and we are proud to be playing our part in delivering a scheme that not only addresses a sustainability agenda, but just as importantly showcases the impact of sustainability to visitors to the centre.”

Xplore! is also seeking views from the public on potential other uses for its new facilities including a state-of-the-art planetarium, a dedicated under-sevens play area, as well as conferencing facilities for businesses.

Xplore!’s projects officer Dawn Pavey said: “Sustainable development is a huge priority for Wrexham, so significantly reducing our carbon footprint and mapping out long-terms plans is an incredibly exciting first step.

“It’s important to us that we not only offer interactive, topical, and fun climate education for our visitors, but we practice what we preach by making the site as energy efficient as possible.

“The funding has meant we have made investments to lower our carbon consumption, and we are working with a North Wales supply chain to carry out the improvements.”

Through generating renewable electricity, the installation of the PV solar panels and improved insulation is expected to save the centre up to 22 tonnes of CO2 a year, which is equivalent to flying from London to New York 26 times.

By the summer, the centre will run on 100 per cent of its own renewable electricity, and annually, it will generate 82.32 MWh, covering 82 per cent of its operations, with the remaining provided to the grid for distribution to local homes and businesses.

Dawn added: “We’re still open as usual and we’d love to see visitors and members of the community share their thoughts of what they would like to see in the new space, helping us develop it into something exciting for everyone.”

The initial building improvements at the Discovery Centre are currently under construction and progressing well. The designs for the first floor are being advanced to RIBA Stage 3 – where the architectural, building services and structural engineering designs are being produced in collaboration with the various stakeholders.

  • Royal Institute of British Architects - RIBA
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors - RICS
  • Royal Town Planning Institute - RTPI
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  • iso14001
  • abr

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