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A scientific approach to architecture

Nick Myall
Wednesday 17 Oct 2018

The University of Cambridge in the UK has chosen Bouygues Construction to build The Cavendish III Physics Laboratory

Bouygues UK, a British subsidiary of Bouygues Construction, and the University of Cambridge have signed a construction contract for the university’s Cavendish III physics laboratory and a neighbouring shared facilities hub, both designed by architect Jestico + Whiles. The contract, which was awarded by Lynxvale Limited, the university’s development arm, is worth £250 million (approximately €281 million). 

Located on the West Cambridge campus, Cavendish III will be a purpose-built laboratory for world-leading research for the university’s Department of Physics, bringing the large number of research groups in the department together under one roof to encourage collaboration. The project has received a funding contribution of £75 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Architect and lead consultant for the buildings Jestico + Whiles was supported by Jacobs as technical architect for the cleanrooms and laboratories. Bouygues UK worked alongside the University’s project manager Currie & Brown, as well as cost consultant AECOM to agree the contract, and will continue to work with NBBJ and BDP to complete the technical design details through to the project’s completion. Ramboll is the civil and structural engineer and Hoare Lea is the M&E engineer. Bouygues Energies & Services will be in charge of the specialist Mechanical & Electrical works.

Professor Andy Parker, Head of the Cavendish Laboratory at The University of Cambridge, said: “This is an exciting step forward for the new Cavendish Laboratory, which will serve as a home for physics research at Cambridge as well as a first-rate facility for the UK as a whole – much of the specialised research equipment in the new building will be made available to other institutions. This world-class facility will meet the educational needs of future generations of students much better than is possible at our existing site and its design also facilitates public events, enabling us to continue our extensive programme of work with schools and the wider public.”

Fabienne Viala, Chair of Bouygues UK and UK Country Manager for Bouygues Construction, said: “We are particularly attracted to complex projects where we can use our technical expertise to add value while working with our group companies and other partners. Having collaborated with the university and wider project team to incorporate the stringent criteria required of a physics laboratory where internationally significant research will take place, we are pleased to be bringing this major project to life.” 

With a GIA of around 354,000 sq ft (33,000 sq m), Cavendish III will house a range of laboratories, offices, clean rooms, workshops and multiple lecture theatres. The basement area will incorporate specialist acoustic and vibration treatments to achieve the stringent control criteria necessary for operating equipment highly sensitive to vibration. There are also challenging criteria to be met in relation to temperature and humidity control and EMI protection. 

The independent Shared Facilities Hub, with a net area of approximately 50,000 sq ft (4,700 sq m), will provide catering, collaborative teaching, meeting, study and library spaces to the West Cambridge campus. The catering services will include a licensed bar/café with a range of food outlets. The hub will bring academic, support and research staff together with the undergraduate and PhD communities.

Beyond the technical aspects, particular attention has been paid to the environment; both buildings have been designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating.

The appointment follows the completion of an £8.5 million professional services contract announced last October that saw Bouygues UK working alongside group company Bouygues Energies & Services, executive architect NBBJ; Civil, Structural & Building Services Engineering and Acoustic Services from BDP; and the University of Cambridge’s existing project team to develop proposals for these new state-of-the-art facilities. 

Nick Myall

News editor

Key Facts:

Education
United Kingdom
Architecture

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