Hacer Developments, a developer based in Swansea and West Wales, has announced further details of an exciting new scheme for Swansea City Centre. Biophilic Living is a mixed-use regeneration development on the site of the former Woolworths store on Oxford Street, Swansea, and this pioneering project has recently secured funding from the Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Scheme.
Biophilia means love of nature and love of living things, and the biophilic design promotes a relationship to nature throughout the project, including roof-top garden amenity space, living walls, balcony planters for each apartment, and greenhouses incorporating a vertical farm utilising aquaponics.
The philosophy of the project is to encourage community engagement and reconnect people with nature in the urban environment. Among the project’s innovative features and research ambitions is the intention to monitor the health and well-being benefits of living alongside nature.
Andrew Nixon, director of Powell Dobson Architects, who have designed the scheme, has said, “Choosing to live and work in the city centre has traditionally meant accepting detachment from nature. Across Britain there are concrete jungles that leave people feeling isolated from the natural environment and disconnected from each other. Biophilic Living reconnects us with the natural world, and with our innate need to feel part of nature. Biophilia refers to our love of living things, which is what makes us human. It’s about happiness, community and positive mental health, as much as it is about sustainability and the environment.”
“The construction works include the redevelopment of an existing 4-storey commercial building with additional floors and a new 12-storey mixed-use tower to the rear. The regenerated building will provide circa 20,000 sq ft of retail space , 2,000 sq ft of Food & Beverage, 22,000 sq ft of commercial office space and 44 residential units. The roof top greenhouses will be run by a newly formed Community Interest Company, which will allow tenants and building users, along with the wider community, to grow vegetables and plants cooperatively. The facility will also be used as an educational resource and as a research centre by Swansea University.”
“This is the start of something amazing for Swansea city centre, which we think will set the tone for the ongoing regeneration of the city,” says Dawn Lyle, co-founder of 4theRegion. “This project is bringing smart, multifunctional green space into the heart of the city, embedding nature and food production into the urban environment, and demonstrating incredible benefits that range from enhanced well-being, better health, a renewed sense of community, greater environmental and social resilience, and of course a reduced carbon footprint. This is what people want for Swansea city centre, and with the support of the Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme this inspiring scheme is becoming a reality.”