Education \ Science Centre, Cambridge Campus, Anglia Ruskin University

Completed 2016.

The Science Centre is a major new facility bringing together teaching, postgraduate and staff facilities from the different departments within the Faculty of Science and Technology, namely computing and technology; psychology and biomedical science/forensics.

Each of these departments has very specific space requirements and they were all  housed in a variety of accommodation scattered across the campus.  As well as providing modern facilities for the faculty, it was the University’s ambition to give students and others a clear idea of all facilities contained within the building immediately upon entrance. It is the Vice-Chancellor’s philosophy and vision that ‘everything should be seen to be available’. Responding to this idea, the building has developed an atrium format where teaching rooms (typically 8.5m metres deep) are lit from external and internal sources and the activities within them are visible to everyone circulating at all levels within.

In addition to the teaching and staff facilities, there is a 304 seat lecture theatre and a 202 place “super-laboratory”. This latter facility represents a new way of teaching science where several classes from different disciplines can be taught at the same time within the one space. Both these spaces are directly accessed from the ground floor of the atrium and entrance foyer.

The building replaces the Bryant and Mellish Clark buildings, together with its single storey sculpture studio, both of which date from the original technology college use and are beyond practical re-use. The combined floor space of these existing buildings is 3,584m². The new building totals 7,625m² and represents a net increase in space of 4,041m².

The new building links on five levels to the existing David Building which is already exclusively used by the science faculty and the floor heights of 3.3 metres have been adopted in the new building for teaching accommodation. However, staff accommodation deliberately placed along the Broad Street frontage adopts a lower floor to floor height of 2.85 metres which naturally gives this elevation a domestic scale.

The design places a domestically scaled elevation onto the Broad Street frontage. Although three storeys high, half a storey is sunk below pavement level, the eaves level of the building is deliberately aligned with the adjacent dwellings and the fenestration is domestic in size. The modelling of the elevation has been indented to reflect the bay windows, a characteristic of the Conservation Area.

The cross section of the building has been manipulated behind this façade to grow up to the highest part of the building, which is five staff storeys and four teaching storeys. This section (fronting Broad Street) is designed so that the eaves largely conceal the presence of the bulk of the building behind from street level. This is further minimised by a cascade of roof and strip windows.

Within the campus, there are two main external spaces between the new and existing buildings. The first is formed from a remodelling of the existing area between the new building and the Mumford Library and is a predominantly a hard landscaped space. It is flanked either side by covered spaces under the Mumford and Science Centre; the latter providing the main entrance to the new Science building. The other, essentially an existing landscaped space, sits between the new science building and the David, Ruskin and Mumford buildings and will remain as is.

The entrance to the faculty is from the hard landscaped space and brings visitors immediately into the heart of the plan. The presence of the super-laboratory at ground floor level is obvious from the internal entrance as well as both external spaces. Since it is a very large deep plan space, its section is double height and large windows are wrapped around its corner elevations, linking one external space to the other. In this way it advertises the presence of the science faculty at ground level within the campus.  The fenestration on the southern and western elevations is extensively louvered to control solar gain with separating brick ventilation ‘chimneys’ that extend from eaves to the ground floor. The roof incorporates a series of photo voltaic panels along the Southern elevation. A total of 500m² of the roof space is dedicated to the delivery of renewable energy for the building.

The Science Centre was completed in 2016.

Architects Richard Murphy, James Mason, Daryl Robbins, James Cockburn, Graeme Armet
Project Management & CDM Gardiner & Theobald LLP
Services Engineering Ramboll
Structural & Civil Engineering Clark Smith Partnership
Acoustics AJA
Fire Engineering JGA
BREEAM Sustainable Construction Services
Approved Inspector Approved Construction Services
Planning Savills
Client Anglia Ruskin University
Contractor Morgan Sindall 


11/03/2015 Cambridge 'super-lab' gets planning approval Cambridge News
12/11/2014 Richard Murphy Architects pen Cambridge Science Centre build Urban Realm
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