The new Materials Science & Metallurgy building at the University of Cambridge is one of the highest performing laboratory facilities in the world – a testament to the collaborative approach of the project team. Ramboll experts provided civil and structural engineering services for the project.
The new development brought together this prestigious research department from dispersed accommodation across Cambridge city centre to a single building on the University’s West Cambridge site.
The four storey building houses ultra-sensitive specialist research laboratories, teaching space and naturally ventilated office accommodation that makes use of the concrete frame’s exposed thermal mass. Of particular note is the Electron Microscopy (EM) Suite which houses state-of-the-art Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEMs) with exceptionally stringent requirements.
The new building provides space for the department’s wide range of activities, from heavy metal working to studying material structures at an atomic level. A key aim was to provide a world-class Electron Microscopy facility to accommodate equipment that is ultra sensitive to vibration, acoustics, temperature and electro-magnetic interference.
These diverse design criteria interact with each other so it was vital for the project team to develop a holistic strategy that considered all aspects of the design, operation and maintenance of the facility to ensure that the full range of exacting requirements was met.
The immensely challenging brief for this world-class facility required all parties to engage, collaborate and work in the best interests of the project. Described by the University’s Estate Management department as “one of the most complex projects the University of Cambridge has ever constructed”, the building was successfully completed in July 2013.