The Waddington building, the Centre for Systems Biology’s new home, was commissioned by the University in 2006 and represents the first phase of a possible two-phase building programme by the School of Biological Sciences. Holmes was appointed after its successful completion of the redevelopment and refurbishment of the adjacent Daniel Rutherford building.
The brief for the new building required the provision of over 1600 sq m of floor space to accommodate the centre. The primary requirement was the provision of bespoke laboratory space with associated ancillary spaces and equipment rooms, as well as meeting rooms, offices and other support spaces.
Externally, the building exudes a quiet confidence through appropriate scale and massing and a simple grid fenestration which sits comfortably alongside the existing Rutherford Building. Holmes’ design takes full advantage of the attractive location of the site which benefits from an intimate garden setting on ground level and impressive views to the north and south-east of the city and beyond on the upper levels. The three-storey building provides a pleasant, working environment with maximum use of natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows, and social areas at ground floor level for enjoyment and use of the gardens.
The building has two distinct zones – laboratories and offices on either side of a central circulation corridor. The main plant area is located at roof level towards the back of the building away from the garden-facing elevation. A degree of flexibility and adaptability, in terms of internal partitioning, has been incorporated into the building’s design to allow for the changes in future requirements and the evolving nature of the users’ research programmes. A key element of the brief was the interface with the Rutherford building, nurturing and supporting communication between the two facilities whilst allowing staff to meet and chat informally within the circulation spaces.
The building has been designed as extremely energy-efficient, reflecting the university’s commitment to sustainability. The structure is highly-insulated with construction detailing to minimise air permeability and thermal bridging. Low energy lighting supplements the natural light via integration of lighting control software and is connected to the campus combined heat and power (CHP).