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The University Estate

The University’s estate ranges from elegant Portland-stone buildings, several listed by the Government for protection because of their special interest, to converted properties from the Victorian era, to modern state-of-the-art buildings. This reflects the University’s historic development. This continues today with a recent and planned new buildings including one for biomedicine, a new resource centre and lecture theatres and planned new premises for the School of Optometry. A large new building has also been purchased to accommodate the University’s administration.

This page and associated links provide details of just some of the University’s high profile buildings.

Main building


Architect John Caroe sought to combine the charm and elegance of his former college (Trinity, Cambridge) with the picturesque balance of many of the Oxford colleges. Building work commenced in 1905 and was completed in many stages, the first in 1909, ending in the completion of the south wing in 1960. Prior to then, from its founding in 1883, the University was based in the Old Infirmary on Newport Road which is now part of the University’s Queen’s Buildings.

Aberdare Hall


Aberdare Hall was the second university residence for women in Britain. By 1895 it consisted of the then newly built brick and terra cotta premises which it still occupies, although much extended and modernised, today.

Law Building


Until the late 1950s the area to the North of Main Building remained undeveloped. In 1963 the Law Building (then known as the Arts Building) opened, joining Museum Avenue and Park Place. Its distinctive bull-nose front is still an easily recognisable feature.

Biosciences and Tower


The relaxation of the city authorities of the four storeys maximum rule, designed to ensure no buildings overshadowed City Hall, led to the building in the 1960s of the biosciences building, the seven storey "pre clinical building" and, in 1967, the twelve storey Tower building. In 2003 the new biomedical building became the latest, and more attractive, addition to this set.

Bute Building


Opened in 1916, this was the original purpose-built home for the Cardiff Technical College, later becoming the main building of UWIST with which the university merged in 1988. It has a simple, neo-classical interior and an exterior adorned by a large red dragon.

Redwood Building


Opened in 1960, it was named after Theophilus Redwood, a founding father of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. Above the entrance a large relief sculpture shows an elderly toga-clad person, surrounded by books and a globe, reaching out protectively over a youthful scientist and a nurse.

Glamorgan Building


One of the most architecturally distinguished buildings in the University’s care.  Designed by Harris and Moodie and opened in 1912 the name of the building commemorates its long association with various local government authorities. Outside the building, serving as reminders of the County’s source of wealth, are two groups of statues by Albert Hodge, one representing navigation and the other coal mining.

Music Building


Opened in 1970 it is one of the first academic buildings in Cardiff to be dedicated to a single academic discipline. The plain exterior is enlivened by the Barbara Hepworth bronze "Walk in", which echoes and contrasts with the greater mass of the building.

The Mathematics Building and Centre for Lifelong Learning


Built in the 1960s when land to the east of Cathays Park came into the University’s ownership.

Arts and Social Studies Library and Humanities Building


Built when former railway land to the north east of Cathays Park came into the University’s ownership in the 1970s. The four-storey library embodies good internal flexibility. The Humanities Building has been extensively extended.

Aberconway Building


Completed in stages between 1981 and 1983 as the first purpose built academic building for UWIST, it has elegantly detailed red bricks that are also features of University residences built in the same period.

The Queen’s Buildings


Opened by The Queen in 1993 the complex of new, middle-age and old structures provides state-of-the-art premises for engineering, computing and physics.

The Henry Wellcome Building for Biomedical Research


The Henry Wellcome Building for Biomedical Research in Wales was formally opened on 10 December 2003 by National Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan. It is the largest development of its kind ever undertaken in Wales and will provide a flagship for biomedical research in Cardiff and the Principality.