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RSHP Architect Website
Last edited 08 Jun 2015

Inmos Microprocessor Factory

The concept for INMOS is large, column-free flexible and universally serviced open operational spaces with a central circulation spine and central meeting space at its heart.

The fast-track nature of the project required the design to be responsive to any site and capable of being built in a range of sizes. The factory is located at Newport, Gwent, close to major transport routes. The 8,900 m2 building provides office and ancillary space, plus facilities for microchip wafer production.

Speed of design and construction were critical factors. The single-storey steel structure was conceived as a kit of parts, with maximum off-site prefabrication allowing the building to be erected bay by bay. The structure is a tubular steel assisted span-tension structure, supported by tension tie rods from the spine towers. This system provides uninterrupted column-free spaces for maximum internal flexibility. The roof is fabricated from 6m span steel decking with thermal insulation and a five-layer roof membrane. The external walls are based on a system of standardised mullions incorporating various infills: single glazing, double glazing, translucent or opaque panels. Wall performances and finishes can be varied as required. The initial design includes double glazing for office areas and solid insulated sandwich panels for production areas.

The building features a central circulation/service spine with internal wings for specialised activities. The spine is 7.2 m wide and 106 m long and acts as an internal street, wide enough for vending machines, public telephones, seating, meeting places, planted areas and waiting areas. Services from the plant room – hot and cold water, chilled water, compressed air, etc – run at high level in this main spine. The building is extendable along the spine in 13 x 36m bays. Offices and restaurants are on the south side of the spine and the clean room production area to the north. Production wastes are collected in linear floor trenches and supply services are distributed on service walls. A large clean room facility and shipping and receiving bays occupy the north side of the spine. The south side has one bay omitted, providing a landscaped courtyard between the offices and the restaurant. Assembly labs and main piped services plant room occupy three western bays of the south face.

Project information:


  • The Structural Steel Design Award, 1982
  • Eurostructpress Award, 1983
  • Financial Times Architecture at Work Award Commendation, 1983
  • Constructa-Preis for Overall Excellence in the Field of Architecture, 1986




--Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners 14:09, 12 March 2015 (UTC)