Vision for The Materials Innovation Centre

MIC Exhibition Panel, click to zoom in

Few of us consider the vital importance of materials science to almost every aspect of our modern lives, from silicon computer chips to the concrete our cities rely on. Yet, the sector is in crisis, struggling to attract funding and enthuse young people.

My vision is for The MIC to be the UK ‘home’ for materials science, both as a visitor attraction and a functional scientific platform; driving excitement, innovation, and ultimately inspiration.

MIC is intended as a landmark building in Bristol, giving a tourist presence outside Temple Meads station, connecting to the ferry port and onward to the City’s other cultural attractions.

Inspired by Brunel’s own Goods Shed which once sat on the site, the MIC adopts a folded plate concrete shell structure pierced by erupting timber laboratories as symbols of scientific progress; ‘science unveiled’. Expressive of the nature of the materials themselves and introducing water reinforces the journey from trains to boats. Like the scales of materials science, macroscopic to nanoscopic, MIC includes a centrepiece Atrium with smaller retreat areas with niche opportunities to see materials scientists at work with cutting edge technology.

“After his initial visit to Materials and Structures Centre at the University of Bath at the start of his final year project, James has updated me with his vision and designs for a Material Innovation Centre in Bristol with passion and energy. I find his concept exciting and it can act to resolve both funding and recruitment challenges in the sector, by acting as a true home for the subject of Materials Science. I am extremely impressed with James’s grasp of the scientist-only areas and believe the researchers would particularly enjoy working in these spaces, which provide a unique combination of both inspiration and functionality.”

Dr Chris Bowen, University of Bath, Materials and Structures Centre (MAST) Tweet

"I can see that James' vision, concepts and designs of his material innovation centre, provide the basis to translate from a detailed university project to a reality that would genuinely excite and educate people in the field of material science".

Christopher Adam, Royal Institution Tweet

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