Bayes Centre

Bayes Centre

Universities
47 Potterrow, Edinburgh EH8 9BT, UK - Build completed in 2018
Keith Hunter

Bayes Centre, The University of Edinburgh

Bennetts Associates Architects as Architects

The Bayes Centre is a pivotal piece of the University of Edinburgh’s estate set to transform Edinburgh city centre into one of UK’s most dynamic places for tech, attracting the highest calibre of international experts in data science and artificial intelligence.


The 9,500sq m building is part of the University’s investment into world-class facilities on its Potterrow campus, following the much lauded Informatics Forum and Dugald Stewart Buildings designed and delivered by the practice’s Edinburgh studio in 2008.


Bayes brings together 600 expert thinkers from across the spectrum: PhD students, academic researchers and university staff working alongside tech-focused businesses, start-ups and ‘spin out’ initiatives. It offers world-class robotics labs, open-plan and flexible working office spaces based on the practice’s research into ‘synergetic’ design, to boost research and collaboration. Alongside these sit more traditional lecture theatres, studios and workshop facilities. 


The University’s vision for Bayes was to use data science and artificial intelligence to shape a better future. This demanded a very specific brief for intellectual interaction and the cross-fertilisation of ideas between employees and researchers who would traditionally operate discreetly from each other. The Bayes Centre links to the existing buildings on the campus through a series of interlocking connections across multiple levels. The large, central atrium promotes a visual ‘transparency’ between groups housed in the building. The staircases within the atrium provide access across floors bookended by breakout spaces to encourage serendipitous encounters between businesses and groups.


Echoing the original city street which ran through the site until the 1960s, Bennetts Associates cut through a series of entrances and pedestrian routes to create a courtyard and retain easy-access public spaces. At ground level, floor-to-ceiling windows encourage public visibility directly into the labs. Here too, facilities and events rooms are available for the public and students of other disciplines while the ground floor café straddles the atrium and the courtyard, affording a centralised point for socialisation. Further outdoor green space available to the building’s residents via large roof gardens affords stunning views towards Arthur’s Seat.


“Bayes Centre is the final phase of University of Edinburgh’s Potterrow development, which we began in 2003 following an architectural competition. It has been a privilege to observe the development taking its place at the centre of University life and playing a pivotal role in the evolution of Edinburgh’s highly successful ‘tech’ sector, something that now extends well beyond the University itself.” - Rab Bennetts, Founding Director, Bennetts Associates


“We look forward to bringing together experts from research and industry in this collaborative space, to apply data science and AI to some of society’s most interesting challenges and opportunities.” – Dr Michael Rovatsos, Director, Bayes Centre.

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