Launchpad Building, Penryn

Designed by architects BDP, the Launchpad Building provides a dedicated hub for Falmouth University’s ground-breaking post-graduate business incubation and acceleration programme, Launchpad, and also a link – via the new ‘Creative Bridge’ - to the Academy for Innovation and Research (AIR, completed in 2012).

VELFAC windows at Falmouth University, Penryn
Photo: Craig Auckland, fotohaus

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A distinctive local landmark

VELFAC glazing is installed across the whole development (described as a ‘new front door’ for the University’s Penryn Campus) with large VELFAC glazed facades helping create a highly distinctive local landmark, especially at night, while also increasing daylighting throughout the open plan interior.

BDP architect Matthew Mayes had previously specified VELFAC for many other projects (including the AIR) and was very happy to use the system again. ‘It’s a quality product,’ he comments, ‘and comes with guarantees and test certification already in place. The VELFAC team also provides detailed interface drawings which are a real advantage for us, and not something supplied by every manufacturer.’

Natural light and beautiful views

The impressive glazed screens, comprising multiple units of varying sizes, front both the AIR and Launchpad buildings: ‘The screens bring natural light into an interior which primarily houses open plan studio workspaces,’ explains Matthew. ‘They also provide a beautiful view over the Cornish countryside,’ he adds.

A ribbon of extra-large windows adds a dramatic focal point to the Creative Bridge, which houses office, reception and exhibition spaces, and the Vice Chancellor’s office. Internal blinds and fixed external screens help control solar gain, ‘but as the main facades face north this is not too much of a problem,’ says Matthew.

BREEAM Excellent standards

As the Launchpad was built to BREEAM Excellent standards, the VELFAC system had to meet stricter thermal performance targets than when the AIR was built, but still achievable with standard double glazed units featuring more thermally efficient glass. Externally, VELFAC aluminium frames have been finished in silver PPC to echo the large silver struts which support the curved green roof. The frames also complement the silver-clad Creative Bridge, and bring additional texture to a façade featuring timber and local stone. Internally, timber window frames are finished in a clear lacquer ‘to deliver a softer feel,’ says Matthew, ‘and the frames also tie in with the timber veneered doors and architraves which are a feature of the workspaces.’

The Launchpad building was formally opened by the Mayor of Penryn in March 2019, and will help increase the impact of the University’s research and enterprise activities across the Cornish economy.


Sector: Education

Architect: BDP

Client: Falmouth University

Photographer: Craig Auckland, fotohaus

Specified for:

  • Quality construction
  • Guaranteed, proven performance
  • Maximum daylight
  • Detailed interface design service
  • Thermal performance