Bob Champion Research and Education Building\

Supporting future medical discoveries

The Norwich Medical School’s vision to become a world-leader in clinical research and teaching has moved a step closer with the opening of the Bob Champion Research and Education Building.

The big idea

We worked very intensely with the University of East Anglia, the Hospital and the Contractor. R.G. Carter to deliver a new 4,500m sq building in under 12 months from planning to handover. All this was achieved without a loss of quality and as excellent value for money by pro-active team working throughout the team.

The building is the first ‘landmark’ building for the Norwich Research Park. It combines a high-tech interior (for medical research practice and teaching) with exterior images of timber clad, rural barns. The design reflects its unique location on the edge of the city looking out across the fields of the Green Belt.

“This exciting partnership will provide our future workforce the opportunity to learn in the same environment as world class research and will undoubtedly support the implementation of the resulting medical discoveries and treatments in the future.”

Prof Krishna Sethia Medical Director, Norfolk and Norwich Hospital Trust

Working from the inside out

The aim of the design is to unite the clinical, academic and research requirements for teaching medical students under one roof. Laboratories, clinical spaces, seminar rooms, a large lecture theatre and offices are all housed in a warm spacious interior with spectacular views out across the fields of East Anglia.

Mustard, heather and corn coloured upholstery fabrics compliment the timber cladding and bespoke joinery. While the clinical and lab areas have cooler palettes of greens and blues. Reference is made to some of the medical research taking place in the building with a pattern derived from microscopic bone structures being used in the atrium cladding.

“We’re very excited by the prospect of the work that will be carried out within the Bob Champion Research and Education Building. This is a great step forward for our research programmes.”

  • Project Details
  • Sustainability

Project Summary

Project Team

Contractor: R G Carter Limited
Project Manager: Real Consulting
Quantity Surveyor: AECOM
Structural Engineers: Arup
Services Engineers and Sustainability advisers: Arup
Landscape Architects: B|D Landscape


  • RIBA Awards 2016 - National Award - Winner
  • National Architectural Acoustics Awards 2016 - Education Buildings - Shortlisted
  • RICS Awards 2016 - Infrastructure - Highly commended
  • RIBA Awards 2016 - East Regional Award - Winner
  • Civic Trust Awards 2016 - National - Commendation
  • South Norfolk Design Awards 2015 - Design of New Building - Winner
  • Civic Trust Awards 2016 - Regional - Finalist
  • S-Lab Awards 2015 - New Teaching and Mixed Use Laboratory Building - Shortlisted
  • Education Estates Awards 2015 - Project of the Year: Colleges & Universities - Winner
  • Education Estates Awards 2015 - Innovation in Teaching & Learning - Shortlisted
  • RIBA Awards 2015 - East Regional Award - Shortlisted


The project has been delivered on a modest budget, with the focus on a passive environmental strategy, creating spaces which perform well and architecture which inspires quality for both institutions and the emerging masterplan. The laboratory wing has been deliberately made completely separate to the teaching wing because of the very different environmental requirements.

The user’s technical requirements have been balanced by the inclusion of generous floor to ceiling heights, floods of natural daylight and exciting use of colour. The building and services design has improved on the requirements of Part L 2010. Airtightness is 3.5m3/h/m2@ 50Pa, solar controlled glazing is used and the envelope has a good thermal performance. Brise soliel are employed in some places to reduce glare and heat gains. 10% of the energy used by the building is provided by renewable energy sources, including PVs, and it is connected to the existing site CHP system.

The building embodies the theory of translational science; the dynamic atrium and spatial arrangement encourages collaboration. Research into medical diseases and cures is undertaken in the same building as the training of Medical staff and students, using real volunteer patients from the adjacent Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

Socially the building has been successful; according to one researcher quoted in the local press the BCRE Building allows ‘closer collaboration between clinicians who work with patients 'at the bedside' and scientists who work solely 'at the bench'.

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