HRH THe Duke of Gloucester opening the Babbage Building
The University of Plymouth has formally opened its new Babbage Building during a ceremony attended by HRH The Duke of Gloucester.
The landmark facility has been the subject of a £63 million regeneration, which has transformed the existing building into a state-of-the-art space housing first-class teaching and research facilities.
Those facilities, featuring technology provided by companies at the global pinnacle of engineering and design, are already being used to educate and inspire the next generation of engineers and designers.
For the official opening, the Duke of Gloucester was shown around the building by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Judith Petts CBE, and others from the University who have worked closely on the project for the past five years.
"This is an exciting day for everyone at the University. The Babbage Building has been a landmark on our campus for more than four decades, and its recent transformation ensures it will continue to play an important role in everything we do. More than that, we have created a series of facilities that will allow our researchers to develop innovative solutions to many of the planet’s most critical challenges, while our engineering and design students will learn alongside each other in spaces that will inspire both their ingenuity and imagination."
HRH The DUke of Gloucester opening the Babbage Building
HRH The Duke of Gloucester opening the Babbage Building
HRH The DUke of Gloucester opening the new Babbage Building
HRH The Duke of Gloucester opening the new Babbage Building
Designed by internationally award-winning architectural practice Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, and project managed by AECOM, the Babbage Building has been transformed and expanded by BAM Construct UK.
It complements the University’s commitments to student experiences and outcomes, which in 2023 saw it awarded triple gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework.
It is home to a state-of-the-art wind tunnel and new clean room facilities, along with laboratories – dedicated to Materials Characterisation and Analysis, Autonomous Systems, Energy and Sustainability, Immersive Visualisation, Precision Manufacturing, and Digital Fabrication – that digitally connect to other world-leading facilities across the University campus.
The building furthers the University’s commitment to sustainability, which in 2023 saw it become just the second university in the UK to achieve PAS 2060 carbon neutral verification.
Retaining the original building has saved the equivalent of nearly 2,000 one-way flights from London to New York in terms of embodied carbon, and thousands of tonnes of building waste have been saved from going to landfill.
The building’s electricity is provided by solar panels and air source heat pumps , while the heat generated by some of the new equipment will be used to heat the building’s water. New landscaping and a roof garden have enhanced biodiversity.

This visit highlights the superb environment provided by the recommissioned Babbage Building. Engineers and designers play such a critical role in society, and the research and teaching facilities now available to support them are first class. They will enable us to fulfil the University's mission to advance knowledge and transform lives for many years to come.

Alex BeltonAlex Belton
Head of the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

HRH The Duke of Gloucester opening the Babbage Building
HRH The Duke of Gloucester opening the new Babbage Building
HRH The Duke of Gloucester opening the new Babbage Building

A lasting legacy to Charles Babbage

Charles Babbage, who spent much of his early childhood in South Devon, is considered by many to be the father of modern computing. He is credited with designing and engineering a series of complex machines, including an automated mechanical calculator that aimed to generate astronomical and mathematical tables.
However, his interests were many and varied, resulting in him being regarded as one of the pre-eminent polymaths of the 19th century. That variety of interests is now reflected in the building which bears his name, with the ambition being for it to continue inspiring students across engineering, computing, mathematics and many other disciplines for decades to come.
Binary code, coding, computing, technology. Getty images 1288453416.

School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics 

Our school offers a range of programmes that apply the latest technologies to explore complex challenges, while our staff carry out research in fields from renewable energy to pure mathematics, robotics and cyber security.
3D design piece 2018 degree show

School of Art, Design and Architecture

The School of Art, Design and Architecture offers high-quality, student-centred degrees, postgraduate programmes and research opportunities focused on adaptability and relevance to today’s cultural industries.