London & South East

Expanding the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

A £48 million project to create a new science and metallurgy building for the University of Cambridge is making good progress and is on schedule.

The Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy project comprises the construction of a new building in order to relocate existing research and teaching facilities to the West Cambridge site. Once work is complete on the seven-storey building, the development will include approximately 10,200m² of floor space and will have the ability to cater for 550 students and staff.

The location of the new building is situated within the larger West Cambridge site is being developed to house research, teaching and residential accommodation by the University. This is the first time that this area of the site has been developed.

The feasibility study for the project was undertaken in 2008, with planning consent achieved in October 2010. Work commenced on the site in July 2011 and with no unexpected delays is currently set to reach completion in summer 2013.

Willmott Dixon Construction is the main contractor on the project and NBBJ Architects is providing all architectural services. Willmott Dixon Construction has a long term working relationship with the University of Cambridge and is registered under the Council’s Considerate Contractors Scheme.

Up to 100 site staff are working on the new development per day and once the work has reached completion the facility will open for use in October 2013.

The main building comprises teaching floors to the south, with laboratory space located to the north, whilst an Electron Microscopy (EM) Suite is situated within a separate wing. A service yard and storage area is located to the east of the EM Suite.

The new building is being constructed from a mix of in-situ concrete and steel and clad with Wheatley Buff brickwork, whilst the office areas have anodised aluminium balustrades and ribbon balconies.

The office areas feature a timber frame double glazing, with solar coating, whilst the lab has metal framed double glazing. A skylight comprises double glazing, whilst an atrium area will feature vertical strip windows and the EM Suite will have a 2m raft slab installed in order to reduce the effect of vibrations to any instrumentation.

Due to the nature of the research work that will take place at the building, a full gas detection system is being installed and will include integrated cut offs which work in line with the distribution pipework. In addition, temperature stability and vibration sensitivity has also been carefully considered.

The external cladding of the building is quite unique and is being patterned to represent a molecular structure. Meanwhile the roof of the main building is inverted with a paving/gravel finish and features photovoltaic panels, whilst the EM Suite has an intensive green roof.

To complete the project some external landscaping will be undertaken to areas directly adjacent to the building and will include the installation of pedestrian paved areas and some tree planting. Car parking facilities are also being provided.

The Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy project is working towards achieving a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’. At present the building and mechanical and electrical works are nearing completion and work continues on programme.

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