The Wellcome Genome Campus
Situated approximately 10 miles south of Cambridge, The Wellcome Genome Campus has a unique and palpable sense of place, derived from both its physical environment and the cutting-edge science that has occurred on the site.
Since its foundation the Campus has been a source of data, discussion and knowledge exchange for both the scientific community and the broader public. In the coming decades these learning and engagement activities will be more important than ever, as the applications of genomics expand and become a part of the life stories of an ever larger number of people.
It is the centre’s vision to establish the Campus as the hub for genomics learning and engagement – a national hub for understanding, dialogue and discussion. With this in mind, the Campus recently initiated a significant refurbishment programme that has updated and improved conferencing facilities at the Campus.
The new-look Conference Centre – which was built around an historic Victorian kitchen garden – boasts a range of exciting features, including the Francis Crick Auditorium; a new Cultural Zone; the Mulberry Court Residences and more. The Conference Centre was designed with conferences, delegates and events in mind and presents a comfortable and welcoming array of facilities specifically geared towards the scientific sector.
Speaking to Premier Construction about the recent project, Director of Courses, Conferences and Public Engagement Dr Julian Rayner, said:
“The Conference Centre has existed at The Wellcome Genome Campus for 17 years, so this project was essentially an extensive and inspirational rebuild scheme. The work that was implemented enclosed what was previously a walled kitchen garden by the stable block in the grounds of a former stately home and has created an open interaction space for exhibits, discussions and interactions.”
R G Carter was the main building contractor on the refurbishment project. R G Carter is a national construction company with a wealth of experience in the construction industry and was responsible for the construction of the centre’s Mulberry Court Residences, as well as work on the site’s Kitchen Garden.
Abell Nepp, meanwhile, was the lead architectural practice on the Conference Centre project, overseeing the works and compiling a strong project team to deliver such a complex and significant project.
Speaking to Premier Construction, Abell Nepp’s Design Leader, Siggi Nepp, said:
“The key aim of the brief was to provide a flexible, multi-use space for both day and night activities, including a bar, breakout space, soft seating and space for exhibitions, science poster sessions and trade exhibitors with the operational flexibility to allow two to three clients to hire the facility simultaneously.
“The idea was to infuse the historical memory of the Victorian kitchen garden – which the centre is built around – whilst also celebrate the innovation and creativity of the science that is such an important part of the campus.”
“It was a wonderful opportunity to bring together architecture, art and science and to have that celebrated in such a high-quality space, bringing both functionality and inspiration to the campus.”
Timorous Beasties designed a dramatic Tree of Life motif, which encircles the Conference Centre auditorium. Together with Abell Nepp, Timorous Beasties also produced the artwork for the textiles and wallpapers that feature throughout the Mulberry Court building.
Waagner Biro were contracted to undertake the specialised roof work on the new Conference Centre and Arup provided mechanical, electrical, public health, structures, façade, building performance and acoustic engineering services on the project.
Commenting on the importance of the project, Dr Julian Rayner, said:
“We have a vision to make The Wellcome Genome Campus a go-to destination for conferences and discussions about genomics. At present, the science of genomics is at an incredibly interesting point – what was previously an area that only a few people worked on, is now, rather suddenly, becoming applicable to all areas of science, biological science and healthcare.
“Sequencing of genomes is becoming a part of the NHS and a part of diagnosis and treatments, so there is a need for experts and non-experts to get together to discuss and exchange information about genomics.
“The Wellcome Genome Campus is a leading centre for research into human health and disease, so we believe this Conference Centre is the natural place where all discussions about the human genome should take place.”
For further information about The Wellcome Genome Campus, please visit: www.wellcomegenomecampus.org.
In focus: The Conference Centre facilities
The Francis Crick Auditorium can accommodate 300 people in a tiered theatre style, with the option to screen off the rear section to leave seating for 170 people in the lower section. The space includes a comprehensive range of equipment expertly controlled by experienced technicians who are on hand throughout an event to answer any queries that may arise.
The James Watson Pavilion, meanwhile, is located just off the site’s exhibition space and opens up onto the orchard which can be used during breaks if the weather permits.
The Cultural Zone provides an opportunity for delegates and guests to engage with the ethical and social implications of genomics and explores the perception of the Human Genome Project and how its scale, ambition and values have shaped genomics research to this day.
The new Mulberry Court, meanwhile, consists of 64 rooms across three very individual wings. The 62 existing bedrooms that form the Willow Court have also been refurbished to a high standard, comparable to the Mulberry Court bedrooms and these improvements have been received exceptionally well with visitors.
Additional areas include the lawns, which make an ideal space for outdoor activities and garden games; a patio area, perfect for BBQs; the Rosalind Franklin Pavilion; the library; the Green Room; and the Pompeiian Room.
Cambridge Online Systems Limited
Cambridge Online Systems Limited specialise in all areas of data communications infrastructure, from structured copper and fibre cabling systems to active networks and wireless technology. Cambridge Online Systems Limited is an accredited installer for the top system manufacturers and as such can offer a 25 year warranty on the systems they install, they also specialise in Blown Fibre installations as employed at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus.
Cambridge Online Systems Limited is also a Microsoft Dynamics Gold partner providing business software solutions for ERP and CRM.
Cambridge Online Systems Limited was founded in 1978 and continues to be a successful IT Systems and Services company. The company is based on the Cambridge Research Park employing over 70 people and serving hundreds of clients.
Over the years, Cambridge Online Systems Limited has worked on numerous new build construction projects, working in partnership with M&E companies. Cambridge Online Systems Limited also work directly for the tenant/end-user market, with clients varying from small businesses to large corporations.
The company has worked in every area of the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus since its establishment in 1992.
Working on the Wellcome Trust’s latest project, Cambridge Online Systems Limited installed a Category 6A copper cabling system to provide data, telephony and AV services to the Conference Centre and Crick Auditorium. The company also installed cross-Campus fibre optic backbone links to provide connectivity for data, telephony, security and building management systems.
Derek Allinson, Director of Cambridge Online Systems Limited, said:
“We have a strong partnership relationship with the various organisations operating on the Campus and are very keen to continue our good work and contribute to the success of the Human Genome Project.”
“At Cambridge Online Systems Limited, we pride ourselves on our skills, expertise, experience and people (and success). We have a 38 year track record of providing quality solutions to every type of business and enjoy long term relationships with our clients.”