Architects’ Showcase: The Innovation Hub at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc by Holmes Miller

Architects' Showcase: The Innovation Hub at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc by Holmes Miller

Image credit: Chris Humphreys

Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) is an ambitious joint venture between Scottish Enterprise, Dundee City Council and Michelin, created in response to the closure of Michelin’s Dundee tyre factory in 2020. It aims to drive innovation in the Scottish economy and address the global climate emergency.

Fully accessible to the Dundee community, The Innovation Hub is the focal point of the Parc that aims to be the place where the earliest stages of innovation and entrepreneurship happen.

Architects' Showcase: The Innovation Hub at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc by Holmes Miller

Image credit: Chris Humphreys

The goal was for a dynamic space that could house a changing mixture of small and growing companies, pre and post-start-ups, project teams from larger companies, and researchers and students, all aspiring to achieve the same goal of zero carbon.



“Because we wanted the building to be somewhere that sparks innovation and addresses climate change, we needed it to be innovative and green itself, as well as exciting, fun and accessible,” says Sarah Petrie, director, innovation and operations at MSIP. “Holmes Miller took all our thoughts and needs and converted them into a building that is collaborative, beautiful, and beyond our expectations.”

Architects' Showcase: The Innovation Hub at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc by Holmes Miller

Image credit: Chris Humphreys

Built by Robertson Construction Tayside, the Hub was designed with its carbon footprint firmly in mind, with a Glulam (glued laminated timber) and CLT (cross-laminated timber) structure used in place of a conventional steel construction, a choice which has saved an estimated 650 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The structure, aligned with the building’s compact form factor, helped achieve a low air-tightness value of 1.87 ach/hr@50Pa.

“One of the best design decisions made on the project was the use of an exposed mass timber frame – a combination of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and Glulam structure,” said Guillem Arraez, project architect at Holmes Miller. “We tried to create an honest building that has the confidence to show you its inner workings, rather than trying to cover things up.



Architects' Showcase: The Innovation Hub at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc by Holmes Miller

Image credit: Chris Humphreys

“We left the glulam structure, CLT panels and even the junctions exposed internally. The high-quality finish of the timber means it still looks attractive, and visitors can see how the building was put together – rather like a giant Lego set.”

Once past a simple threshold, visitors to the Hub enter a world of warmth and vibrancy, thanks to the exposed timber frame and use of colourful furniture and signage.

Architects' Showcase: The Innovation Hub at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc by Holmes Miller

Image credit: Chris Humphreys

“The extensive use of timber suggested by the architect aligned to our vision about reducing the Hub’s environmental impact,” adds Sarah Petrie. “The timber is also one of my favourite things about the building. It makes the structure feel like it’s living and breathing. It’s a building that gives you a hug and makes you feel warm and cosy. I love the simplicity and elegance of the detailing, and the fact that it will continue to evolve as the wood splits as the building settles.”



The building is essentially split into three sections: a large events space, a central informal gathering space which includes a café, and a flexible workspace with hot-desking and breakout spaces, meeting rooms and design labs.

Architects' Showcase: The Innovation Hub at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc by Holmes Miller

Image credit: Chris Humphreys

A Hellerup staircase in the heart of the building – nicknamed by the client as ‘the Spanish Steps’ – allows building users to informally come together to share ideas over a coffee.

“The Spanish Steps is a brilliant feature which allows people to take a seat whilst enjoying a chance conversation,” said Sarah Petrie. “The flexibility of the building is amazing; we have already used most of the spaces in ways we had not even imagined during the design process.”



Architects' Showcase: The Innovation Hub at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc by Holmes Miller

Image credit: Chris Humphreys

“Wherever you are in the Hub, you can catch a glimpse into other spaces and see things happening, and go and join the conversation,” adds Guillem Arraez. “We hope we’ve created a building that encourages people to collaborate, debate, innovate and ultimately to create wonderful things.

“This is a building that doesn’t provide the total solution, it’s simply a framework that enables its users to interpret and define how they inhabit it. The most exciting part of designing a building is seeing it spark to life, when people start interacting in ways that were never envisioned.

Architects' Showcase: The Innovation Hub at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc by Holmes Miller

Image credit: Chris Humphreys

“It’s always a privilege when you have a client like MSIP, who isn’t scared to push boundaries or try new things, and ultimately who makes difficult decisions for the right reasons. It makes designing buildings a lot more fulfilling.”



Thanks to the use of structural timber which was manufactured off-site, the entire structure of the building went up in just three weeks. Because the client wanted an industrial look for the exterior, the building was then wrapped in sinusoidal cladding which took only a further week to achieve.

Architects' Showcase: The Innovation Hub at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc by Holmes Miller

Image credit: Chris Humphreys

“The Innovation Hub, much like the rest of the Parc, has had innovation at its heart,” comments, Kevin Dickson, regional managing director, Robertson Construction Tayside. “By utilising off-site manufactured timber, the carbon intensity of the building was reduced and enabled a swift assembly on site. The use of sustainable materials to create this inspiring environment sees the facility reimagined as part of the wider masterplan, securing the future of the site and Dundee’s reputation for innovation and creativity.”

The Hub is the latest stage in Holmes Miller’s long-term relationship with MSIP. The practice also masterplanned the wider Innovation Parc and designed the incubator units within the Parc. The idea is that a seed of an idea can germinate within the Innovation Hub, and as a company grows, it can move around the Parc into larger accommodation.

Architects' Showcase: The Innovation Hub at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc by Holmes Miller

Image credit: Chris Humphreys

Project Information

  • Client: Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc
  • Main contractor: Robertson Construction Tayside
  • M&E: Atelier 10
  • Structure/Civil engineer: Goodson Associates
  • CLT specialist: Glulam Solutions
  • Project Manager / PD: Hardies
  • Construction cost: £4.75 million

Dundee City Council secured £3.5m of funding to support the Innovation Hub from the Tay Cities Deal Industrial Investment Fund. The Innovation Hub has also been funded by Scottish Enterprise and Michelin. It was completed in November 2023.

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