May 24, 2018

Ecoscape UK

Atkins-designed innovation centre opens at the University of Edinburgh

Atkins

Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, is the designer behind a new animal science innovation centre and campus hub opened today at the University of Edinburgh by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. The £23 million Charnock Bradley Building at the university’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies provides a place at the heart of the university campus for staff, students, and businesses to share ideas, innovations and research. It is part of the University of Edinburgh’s four-phase, 20-year development of the campus to establish it as a world-leading centre of excellence for animal science. SNC-Lavalin acquired WS Atkins plc on July 3, 2017.

The 7,000m2 sustainable building brings together university students, staff and research scientists into shared facilities including a gym, student services, cafe, teaching laboratory and exhibition space. The building also houses the Roslin Innovation Centre, an ‘incubator’ with research and development laboratories and offices for bioscience companies, including start-ups. The building is also home to the Easter Bush Innovation Centre, a teaching laboratory used by schools to encourage interest in science and to provide children with access to advanced scientific equipment. The gym and shop will also be available for public use.

Neil McLean, Lead Architect for SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, said: “Our design allowed for open spaces that help build a community between the building users. We’ve designed to allow for maximum adaptability and flexibility within the building. The laboratory and office spaces, for example, can be easily arranged in an open-plan, group, or small-scale format depending on the end-user’s requirements. We wanted the building to be loose and flexible, and able to accommodate any use the tenants envision in future, optimising the space for collaboration and innovation.”

The exterior of the building has two key design elements: a grounded triangular block, clad in natural stone with a living green wall complete with irrigation to fit the surrounding landscape; and an elevated glazed ellipse form. Together, they create a unique identity for a building intended to serve as a hub at the heart of a campus.

Neil said: “The client wanted an iconic design that was distinguishable from the surrounding facilities and allowed for future redevelopment as set out in the campus masterplan, and the team worked exceptionally hard to achieve this vision.”

Sustainability was another key driver for the design. The building achieved a BREEAM excellent rating and has an ambitious 60% CO2 saving over 2007 Scottish Building Regulations. The post-tension flat concrete slabs used in the building design allow for exposed soffits within the office and shared facility areas, bringing the benefit of thermal mass cooling and storage. Another strategy for high sustainable performance is orientating the building with the offices facing north, which means a mixed-mode cooling and heating strategy can be adopted, avoiding the need for traditional mechanically cooled systems.

The Charnock Bradley Building is the latest building to be delivered by Atkins’ fast-growing higher education team, whose portfolio includes the design and engineering of flagship buildings for Bournemouth University, the University of Glasgow, the University of Northampton and the University of South Wales.

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