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Centre for Systems Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Thursday 17 Sep 2009

Gestation completes for Biology Building

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First phase of Edinburgh University building program completes 

A 'quietly confident' design has seen fruition as the new home for the Centre for Systems Biology on the University of Edinburgh’s King’s Buildings campus. Designed by Holmes, the 3-storey Waddington Building, provides 1,600 sq m of laboratory, office and ancillary spaces.

Natural light is injected through the inclusion of floor to ceiling windows which give views onto landscaped gardens. The building has been designed as extremely energy-efficient being highly-insulated with construction detailing to minimise air permeability and thermal bridging, using low energy lighting to supplement the natural light via integration of lighting control software, connecting to the campus combined heat and power (CHP) system.

There are two distinct zones located on either side of a central circulation spine - laboratories on one side and offices on the other. A key element of the brief was the interface with the Rutherford building, nurturing and supporting communication between the two facilities. Staff are provided opportunities to meet and chat informally at both specially conceived ‘play spaces’ and informal ‘eddy’ points on the circulation routes.

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 partner Allan Quinn said: “Holmes responded to the challenges of the brief, in terms of site constraints, technical requirements and linkage with existing buildings, by conceiving a simple and confident design – elegant, appropriate and sustainable.”

The Waddington building was commissioned by the University of Edinburgh 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.

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