Service
Architecture, Visualisation
Sector
Education & Research
Client
University of Nottingham
Size
10,000m2

Collaborative research hub

Benoy has been involved in the first two phases of the Biomolecular Research Facility for the University of Nottingham as the Lead Architect.

The Centre for Biomolecular Sciences was initially created to bring together numerous medical research groups which at the time were either dispersed over the main campus or housed in dated accommodation. The three main groups consisted of the School of Pharmacy, the Institute of Infections and Immunity and the School of Chemistry.

The aim of the project was to deliver advanced laboratory facilities for collaborative and integrated research spanning a number of fields. Today, it brings together a diverse range of researchers who, traditionally, would not have worked so physically close together. The result is a significant improvement in operating efficiency, cost and research benefits for the University.

The award-winning design has also emphasised the University of Nottingham’s commitment to excellence in the field of medical research.

Academic integration

The first phase of the new building opened in 2003 and occupies a key site on the edge of the Nottingham University Park Campus. It provides approximately 4,000mof laboratory and research space and accommodates over 300 scientists in four departments across two faculties.

Built on the site of the former Cancer Research Laboratories, Phase I improved the frontage of the development along the primary highway in the area with a traditional rectangular footprint. Laboratories and associated spaces are located on the north side of the building facing the road with sealed and mechanically controlled environments.

Designed to encourage social and academic interaction, the scheme incorporates a large café with a fully glazed wall looking out onto the newly created landscaped courtyard.

State-of-the-art facilities

Following the success of the scheme’s first phase, Benoy was appointed to design the second larger building. The second phase added over 6,000m2 of research and office space and includes a state-of-the-art, 550 seat auditorium.

A key challenge of the £25m project was the inclusion of the auditorium. The theatre facility was required to be integrated into the overall laboratory project but with dedicated access from the main campus.  Benoy’s designers solved the dual access issue by placing the glazed entrance foyer below the upper level of the cantilevered lecture theatre.

Phase I and Phase II are located in close proximity and are joined by an enclosed courtyard that is situated between the two buildings. The Phases are connected on all three floors and permit a range of common amenities including meeting rooms and a café.