AWRC Building by HLM Architects

The world-leading Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, designed by us, has achieved an ‘Excellent’ sustainability rating from BREEAM.


Delivered by Sheffield Hallam University in partnership with Legacy Park Ltd, AWRC is one of the most advanced research and development centres for physical activity across the globe. The facility is supported by the UK Government, which committed £14 million of funding to the project.

The building was completed in late 2018, with BAM Construction acting as Principal Contractor and Turner and Townsend Project Management as Project Manager.

BREEAM assessed the AWRC on various aspects including energy consumption, transport, water facilities, health and wellbeing, building materials, waste, land use and ecology, and pollution.

AWRC also received an ‘Outstanding’ rating for various aspects of the site including reduction of energy use and carbon emissions, energy monitoring, water consumption, water monitoring, responsible sourcing of materials, construction waste management, operational waste, and minimising impact on existing site ecology.

The centre includes state-of-the-art facilities such as: a 7.5m high indoor laboratory, third generation pitch with cameras and tracking instruments, 3D biomechanical and gait analysis and scanning, a manufacturing workshop, MRI, CT, ultrasound, body composition measurement, and physiological testing and a technology demonstration hub.

The primary aim of the AWRC is to create innovations that will ‘improve the health of the nation’, tackling key issues such as static levels of physical activity, rising obesity, and mental health whilst also attracting new jobs and investment to the region. The work of the AWRC is envisaged to deliver substantial external benefits including more than £115 million cost savings to the UK by 2021.

BREEAM is the longest established environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings, with 250,000 buildings achieving certified assessment ratings and over a million registered for assessment since it was first launched in 1990.

Professor Rob Copeland, Director of the AWRC, said: “The AWRC has the ambition to be the leading centre for physical activity research and innovation in the world. To achieve this, we will need to harness skills and expertise from across Sheffield Hallam and collaborate with industry, local communities and the public sector to co-produce innovations that help people move. The AWRC building is a critical part of that process. We are absolutely delighted with how well the facility supports our objectives and helps to create a vibrant and collaborative environment for our research.”

Delia Harmston, Sheffield Studio Lead, HLM Architects, said: “We are driven by a sense of responsibility to deliver places for people which are smart investments in our future, both protecting the health and wellbeing of the building’s users while positively impacting our climate and the surrounding ecology. We recognise that the built industry accounts for a large proportion of carbon emissions and that it is up to each one of us to carefully mitigate that by delivering the highest performing buildings where the environment and people can thrive together in harmony. It is pleasing to see this dedication and commitment celebrated with AWRC’s BREEAM certification.”

BREEAM is just one of the services that we offer as part of our sustainability strategy. For more information, please click here.