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Techniquest joins forces with “ground-breaking” global initiative

By Raspberry Jim,

A worldwide initiative led by a leading US museum has selected Cardiff’s science discovery centre, Techniquest, to join its “ground-breaking” mission.

Spearheaded by Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, the OF/BY/FOR ALL Change Network recently announced the educational charity as part of its prolific list of partner organisations.

As the only science centre to be chosen as part of its First Wave initiative, Techniquest will join a prestigious international network of 20 civic and cultural organisations over the next six months to fulfil its mission of nurturing and creating robust communities.

The initiative, which started last month, aims to deepen community engagement and strengthen relationships across the globe.

The news comes after the recent announcement of crucial funding for the educational charity. In July, the centre secured a whopping £5.7million in funding which will see its Science Capital project brought to life.

The Science Capital, which encompasses a radical transformation and extension of Techniquest’s current building, aims to create a scientific literate society across Wales, inspiring people of all ages with interactive STEM learning experiences.

The OF/BY/FOR ALL Network is a long-term programme which aims to create a world where cultural and civic organisations grow of, by and for their communities, sharing resources and connecting individuals.

Clare James, fundraising manager at Techniquest said: “As we march forward on our mission to make science accessible for everyone, it is incredibly important to us to work with our local communities to bring this vision to life.

“We’re delighted to be part of this ground-breaking programme. It’s incredibly exciting to have this opportunity to work alongside such a diverse range of organisations that are on a similar mission to Techniquest. To be selected by the network as one of only two UK organisations is all the more pleasing.

“Led by the inspiring Nina Simon from Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, we’re looking forward to learning from other organisations and how their teams work to tackle different problems.

“Looking ahead, we’re working towards becoming a sustainable, vital part of the community, and ensuring that Techniquest is a welcoming, relevant space where our communities feel comfortable, confident and connected.”

Techniquest submits plans for Science Capital project

By Raspberry Jim,

Techniquest has submitted a planning application for its £5.7m Science Capital project, which will see the radical transformation and expansion of its science discovery centre in Cardiff Bay.

Planning has been submitted to extend the educational charity’s current building on Stuart Street to create an additional 900m2 of exhibition floor space.

The scheme, designed by local architecture practice HLM, will significantly increase Techniquest’s footprint providing an additional 60% exhibition space to house brand new innovative content related to, and developed with, Welsh STEM innovators, academics and communities.

The new immersive and innovative exhibition areas and experiences will help Techniquest to diversify its audiences and increase visitor numbers by at least 40%.

Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO of Techniquest said: “Since securing funding, it has been full steam ahead in our Science Capital project. We’ve been working closely with our consultants to marry up our objectives, with the space we have available, and our ultimate goal of ensuring the charity has a sustainable and long-term future in Wales.

“We’re delighted with the final plans, which are contemporary, inclusive, flexible and eye-catching. Gaining planning consent is naturally a crucial factor in the future of this project so we’re hopeful for a positive result.”

As well as creating a new vibrant public entrance, the plans include a designated community space overlooking the Bay, a new café and shop, in addition to a roof terrace and courtyard designed to host interactive artworks and features to complement exhibitions.

Patrick Arends, leisure and culture sector lead at HLM said: “Techniquest has been providing inspiring scientific education for over 30 years and the new extension will reflect this with a contemporary design that will showcase this unique and much-loved facility in Cardiff.  The Cardiff HLM studio has been working closely with the project team, drawing on its extensive experience in designing top class educational and leisure spaces, to create a vibrant space that is flexible, active and relevant.”

The scheme is being project managed by Lee Wakemans who are working alongside HLM (architects), Hydrock (project engineers) and Wardell Armstrong (planning consultant).

Paul Wong, Director at Lee Wakemans said: “Techniquest is on a marvellous journey of renewal looking to reach a much wider audience. We feel privileged to play our part in helping to translate what the client is seeking to achieve, into an exciting design which will get built and ready for summer 2020. It’s great to have reached this milestone of submitting the planning application and we’re grateful to all team members who have helped us reach this point.”

Subject to planning permission being granted, it is anticipated that work on the extension will commence in Spring 2019, with the new space being open to the public by Summer 2020.