IPEC, University of Cambridge

This concept design for an Inclusive Passenger Experience Centre proposes a new research facility for public transport.

The University of Cambridge is seeking to develop its research and development programme for the creation of more inclusive public transport systems. As part of this, new facilities will be required that allow the development of new engineering solutions and products, together with their testing, using large cohorts within realistic or immersive environments that allow the observation of individual and group behaviour. Early uses of the research hub would include modelling the experience of a railway traveller from arrival at a station to disembarkation, possibly in another city or country.

Burwell Architects worked with the Estates and Academic departments at the University to create a concept for a research facility. The vision is to provide a home for the creation of flexible, immersive research and experimental environments with the ability to be re-purposed without being re-structured. This has necessitated the design of a flat-floored structure with large structural spans and open plan areas that are adaptable to scale mock-ups with stage sets that simulate passenger situations.

The project looked carefully at the organisation of a new facility, its relationship to the engineering and research-based laboratories required and the public interface areas where large scale experiments could be undertaken. Parallels with film studio facilities emerged in which highly adaptive immersive environments could be created for large numbers of people. These ideas have been developed into a concept building that could sit next to the Institute for Manufacturing on the West Cambridge Site. Such a location would allow sharing of facilities and collaborative research.

Project Team

Client: University of Cambridge

Lead Architect: Burwell Architects

Project Data

Concept Design: 2020