Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland

Forming part of The University of Edinburgh’s Potterrow Development in the George Square and Bistro Square area of the city, the Bayes Centre affirms the institution’s position as a cutting edge, global leader in data and technology excellence.

Buro Happold’s work on the first two phases of the project, which includes the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, a University Visitor Centre, exhibition space and shared outdoor spaces, led to us being re-commissioned to work on the Bayes Centre. The development is being delivered over four stages, and includes a new six storey, steel framed link building and the refurbishment of the existing Lister and Pfizer buildings.


Our team needed to create a space suitable for small start-ups, major multinationals, business development staff and researchers. In addition to achieving the architectural intent, we also needed to successfully integrate the building with the existing phases of the development. This was particularly challenging due to the tight footprint of the site.

With sustainability a key part of the client brief, our role was also to design MEP systems that would provide a sustainable, energy efficient solution.

The Bayes Centre affirms the institution’s position as a cutting edge, global leader in data and technology excellence. Image: Alan McAteer


The earlier phases of the project were already occupied, which allowed our team to undertake post-occupancy studies. We used this information to inform our design for the Bayes Centre, with feasibility proposals providing space for around 500 new occupants. This approach allowed us to refine the MEP systems for the new phase, and the project is on track to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating. In order to achieve a high standard of low energy design, we incorporated efficient lighting controls and utilised the existing district heating and cooling systems. The building’s systems are also highly adaptable, helping to protect the University’s investment in the future.

In the atrium, steel framed structures with steel decking provide a link to the adjacent Dugald Stewart Building. A long span concrete slab, supported by several steel beams, creates a passage to the external Potterrow courtyard, improving accessibility and encouraging social interaction. The design ensures that students and academics can move easily between the Bayes Centre and existing phases, while keeping each of the buildings structurally independent.

Offering a high standard of space for the study of data and technology, the Bayes Centre will support the University’s world leading position in the sector. Image: Alan McAteer


With the final stage of the project due for completion in mid 2018, the Bayes Centre will bridge academic disciplines and commercial collaboration, acting as a hub to support data technologies, intensive research and analytics. The building will provide flexible space to facilitate open plan working, social spaces and independent learning, as well as supporting the University’s position as a world leader in the field of data science.


RICS Awards, Design Through Innovation: Highly Commended


EAA Awards, Large Project category: Winner

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