The Biophilic Swansea project will transform the site of the former Woolworth store on Oxford Street, providing affordable new homes and workspace alongside a community urban farm
The scheme is the result of extensive collaborative working among a range of local organisations, including Swansea University, the Active Building Centre, Public Health Wales, and a number of local community groups.
Funding awarded through the Welsh Government Innovative Housing Programme will enable Biophilic Swansea to incorporate innovative technologies and community features, to explore a new way of inner-city housing in Wales.
The aquaponics system will create a continuous cycle where waste produced by fish, living in onsite tanks, adds nutrients to the water which feeds the greenhouse plants.
The water is then filtered and recirculated back into the system.
Biophilic Swansea’s aquaponic fish tanks and associated equipment will be developed in partnership with Swansea University’s Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) and will form part of an education and public display on the ground floor of the tower.
The vision for Biophilic Swansea includes residents running and managing the urban farm as a social enterprise.
The existing building will be redeveloped with new floors added above and a new build tower element to the rear.
This will open into a new multi-use public realm, which will become a vibrant public and cultural space and a destination for events and street markets.
The public realm effectively links the Biophilic Swansea project with the new council-led development at 71-72 The Kingsway on the site of the former Oceana nightclub, which will provide high tech workspace.
Pobl has recently exceeded its target of creating 3,000 much needed new homes in the five years to 2021 and has recently outlined its ambitions for the new decade that includes investing in a further 10,000 new homes by 2030.
Regeneration, restoration and repurposing
Andrew Vye, managing director Pobl Homes & Communities, said: “Pobl has a growing reputation for delivering forward-thinking housing solutions that push the boundaries.
“We are excited to be working with Hacer on such an innovative project that will deliver much needed high-quality homes for Swansea and support the council’s wider regeneration plans for the city centre.
“Hacer have shown a real passion and commitment to deliver this project and the support from the council and Welsh Government has been critically important.”
Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart, commented: “This development is an impressive innovative concept and another landmark development for our city.
“This demonstrates the confidence in the ongoing regeneration of Swansea from the private sector and a commitment to our regeneration, restoration and repurposing agenda.
“It[‘s] a great example of partnership working, and I’m grateful to the Welsh Government for the funding it has provided to make this happen.
“In future, more people will live, work, and enjoy spending time in our greener, more people-friendly city centre – so the lifestyle, wellbeing, quality standards and greening principles of the Biophilic Living development reflect what the council is committed to creating.”