Multi-disciplinary research facilities, accommodated within an extension to our award winning New Biochemistry building, completed in 2008.
In 2008 the New Biochemistry building was completed. It was the first phase of a larger combined building, for which planning was gained in 2006. The department moved in, the combined team won a number of awards and we got some great feedback about the building. It was expected that the second phase would follow closely after Phase 1, but ten years on we are finally realising the complete project. While the envelope has to remain aesthetically continuous, the internal plan layout has changed substantially and working on the project has been the equivalent of an extended Post Occupancy Evaluation.
Scientific practice has changed substantially since the completion of New Biochemistry, and Hawkins\Brown has also developed an extensive portfolio of work, from which we can take lessons learnt. We have used this experience to define an internal layout that works for a number of scientific disciplines. It is designed to be generic and adaptable in the future to give the building occupants flexibility in how they organise themselves from day one and in the future.
The Big Idea
To increase the density of the general wet lab areas and the support space available, we have flipped the typical Phase 1 floorplan. Generic labs and shared equipment spaces are now central to the deep plan. While the lab areas are largely artificially lit, the write up areas benefit from natural daylight at the perimeter of the building. Some write up areas are still open to the atrium, continuing the architectural rhythm and collaborative attitude fostered by the Phase 1 arrangement.
The Small Detail
There are highly specific technical spaces as well as generic research spaces. These include a suite of three Cryo-EM microscopes with the basement that operate within tight vibration and temperature tolerances and have also required the local dropping of the floorslab due to their height.
Working From The Inside Out
The project builds on the principles of interior design that were established for Phase 1. The colour palette developed for New Biochemistry has been used to generate a corresponding palette for the second phase, while the principle of different lighting temperatures for laboratory and collaborative spaces is also continued. A challenge will be matching finishes that are ten years old.