The building provides teaching and research accommodation bringing together the formerly dispersed departments of Zoology, Botany, Ecology and Biodiversity and the Institute of Molecular Biology into one ten storey centre for the Biosciences.
The brief and flexible design of the building was developed in two stages enabling detailed layout decisions to be finalised nearer the time of occupation so that changes in the client’s scientific research programmes occurring during design and early construction could be readily accommodated both then and in the future.
The classical symmetry evident in both its planning and form responds to the orthogonal discipline of the campus in which it sits. It echoes, in modern ‘high tech’ idiom, the Neoclassical main building, which forms its Eastern backdrop. The challenge was to devise a solution which responded to the limitations of the site in an innovative manner.
We introduced the double skin ‘eco-skeletal’ wall feature that acts both as services space for the laboratory floors and an environmental buffer. All laboratory planning was laid out to meet the initial needs of university departments, but our modular concepts and kit of parts designed for the flexible workspace fit-out also enable the rearrangement of space allocation and layouts at minimum cost as research and teaching programmes change. Innovative laboratory design concepts are integrated into an environmentally responsive building, providing both ecological and financial benefits to the natural surroundings and the buildings users.
LCE/LIU undertook the work in collaboration with lead local architects Leigh & Orange.