The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL) South Building is located at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, Cambridgeshire. This bioinformatics related research and training facility further enhances the already impressive campus and hosts over 240 researchers and the European research infrastructure for life science data.
Turner & Townsend PLC
The brief for the new building was challenging in all aspects from managing the clients expectations through to detailed design and a complex delivery.
Employed early to engage with the architect early in the design period, enabled us to bring expertise to the intent of encapsulating the steel frame structure, with a high performance façade and incorporating a number of bespoke and unique features.
With the client brief clear, a conceptual overview process commenced with the architects to make the vision a reality. A four-sided building with central atria had been adopted, with the 2 long flanks facing North and South. The North elevation was inclined outwards and faceted giving a ‘saw-tooth’ effect on plan that meant the glazing apertures were parallelogram’s, with structurally bonded insert vents required for natural ventilation. The South elevation was less complex but due to orientation, had a large curved brise soleil secondary façade that replicated the ‘saw-tooth’ pattern of the North façade.
In addition to the glazing, a curved cladding zone at the head and base of the glazing was introduced to flow across the East and West elevations to join the two main facades and maintain the symmetry. East and West elevations had movable stainless steel mesh shading introduced to track the solar trajectory and large soffits that returned back to the structure.
Early collaboration at the point when key architectural decisions were being made meant that we were able to bring our engineering expertise to bear at the right point in the process. A detailed knowledge of the cost plan also helped avoid the intent or finishes being re-visited later in the process and enabled a stunning result to be achieved to the delight of all parties involved.