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Launchpad starts on site

Construction work has started on the Penryn Campus near Falmouth for Project Launchpad, a new building for Falmouth University. The Launchpad building (Phase 2) will house Business Entrepreneurship and postgraduates in a studio workspace environment which will be similar to the existing AIR building which BDP completed in 2012. The project also comprises an innovative link building between AIR and Launchpad which will form the main entrance to both academic buildings as well providing office, reception, exhibition space with the Vice Chancellor’s office and boardroom on the upper level.

BDP were commissioned to develop proposals for a new extension to the AIR building in April 2016. The new building will provide approximately 1000sqm (gross internal area) with the link building providing an additional 250sqm of accommodation. Architecturally, Launchpad is designed to respond to AIR and is linked by the high-profile administration hub (The Link) which is formed in a completely different architectural language. The three elements form a string of buildings which run along the northern edge of the carpark and have the potential for further phases to be added.

The building is required to provide very flexible accommodation and will be designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent; a 10% improvement on Part L will also be targeted. The nature of activities within the building are such that, innovative and forward-thinking design solutions will be encouraged.  The building will also maximise the opportunity for interaction among those occupying it. The position of the link will be to provide the University with a landmark building which announces the Penryn campus as one which promotes exciting architecture and which takes design seriously.

What is Launchpad programme?

The Launchpad programme is a proven, innovative post graduate incubation and acceleration programme which will create a new generation of Cornwall-based companies in high-value smart specialisation markets. Launchpad methodology reverses the traditional model of business incubation as it creates new companies in direct response to an identified industry demand – it responds to a customer-generated business challenge.

The Launchpad business incubation model aligns skilled graduates, a bespoke package of specialist support and Falmouth University’s Research, Development and Innovation infrastructure with clearly defined business opportunities. This approach will attract and retain entrepreneurial talent, create high-value jobs and draw investment into Cornwall for the long-term benefit of the local economy.

Launchpad will achieve:

  • 128 new jobs
  • 32 new businesses
  • 32 new market products
  • 32 new to firm products
  • Assist 64 different enterprises.


Following success of the pilot project which was run from the existing AIR building, the new proposal sets out a full scale Launchpad project consisting of two key stages which feed a third stage of activity. The last stage demonstrates how Launchpad will create a ‘pipeline’ of new tech companies across Cornwall.

BDP has shown a great understanding of our needs as a client. They have responded to a fast-moving brief with an innovative and flexible design solution which will enable the Launchpad to grow and fulfil its exciting potential as an industry-leading initiative.

Ken Johnson, Director of Estates, Falmouth University