A lecture hall with grey lecture hall seating and green walls.

Abacws Building, Cardiff University

A world class home for Maths and Computer Science

The Details

Seating Solution: Montpellier, Connect, and bespoke window cushions

Client: Cardiff University

Services Utilised: Bespoke Design, Technology Integration, Safety & Standards Guidance, Value Engineering

Working With: Stride Treglown, ISG

Capacity: 264 Montpellier; 121 Connect

Cardiff University…

…wanted to bring together the School of Computer Science and Informatics and the School of Mathematics into one world-leading facility. The building was designed in collaboration with students and academic staff to create interdisciplinary, flexible, and creative workspaces with innovative teaching areas being key.

The Solution

We were brought in to create two lecture theatres for the new building. The first was to be a space that facilitated group working which was also work as a space that students could use to study and complete work outside of lecture hours. Of course, our award-winning CONNECT seating was the best option for this space. We were able to create a learning space that fully encourages collaboration and interaction that students would enjoy using both in and out of lectures. The space had 121 seat places, 4 of which were tip-up seating that would allow create space for wheelchairs when required. Power and data points were also built in to the desks ensuring students could stay connected while using the space.

The main lecture theatre used our Montpellier seating to create a traditional learning environment, that had comfort at it’s core. We worked with the client to create their vision of a pattern using colours that corresponded to the number chain phi (The Golden Ratio – 1.61803 39887 49894 84820 45868 34365 63811 77203 09179) – an interesting and creative nod to the faculty.

We also created 8 window seat cushions for various spots throughout the building.

The Outcome

The University building opened as a marked return to face-to-face teaching and large-scale lectures after a substantial period of online learning following the Covid-19 pandemic. Students and staff alike have been thrilled to get back in to the building. Jonathan Gillard, deputy head of the school of maths, said “The Abacws building is absolutely fabulous, it has lots of spaces for ad hoc meetings. Students are working, meeting and talking with each other. They are taking full advantage of the building and getting to know each other”. Students have said of the space that they ‘enjoy coming in to the building’, and that it is ‘easier to work together’ in the new space.

*Quotes taken from Wales Online article https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/education/first-look-inside-cardiff-universitys-22959436

A lecture room set up with desks and lecture hall seating


Race Furniture installed the fixed furniture for the two main lecture theatres in the Abacws Building.

They were engaged during the design process, contributing ideas and solutions throughout. The installation teams were well organised and the finished product was installed to an excellent standard of quality. I would definitely use Race again.

Martin Cocks, Senior Project Manager, Construction – South, ISG

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