EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Nov 13, 2012) - After nearly 50 years and 9 Nobel Prizes, the Medical Research Council (MRC) is excited to celebrate its new home for their Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB). And after winning the Best Large Commercial Building award from the LABC for the East Anglia region, this completed structure is now being shortlisted for a National Building Excellence Award.
Organic by design
The design team at RMJM purposefully created this new facility with two kinked laboratory blocks joined by a central atrium. This was intended to provide the symbolic look of a chromosome, subtly conveying the work being done inside.
Structurally engineered to reduce vibration
The RMJM team also took special consideration to place all heavy plant utilities and HVAC servicing for the building in a separate energy center, or within four stainless steel-clad towers that link to the building.
This ingenious approach removes weight and sources of vibration from the laboratory for the exacting standards today's research demands.
Ready to adapt
In anticipation of new or different research needs, RMJM created full height Interstitial Service Voids (ISVs) between each floor. These are designed to house all the ductwork, pipes and services. This innovative approach allows direct access for maintenance and modifications without having to enter the actual laboratory spaces. With these ISVs, changes can be made rapidly and with minimal disruption. This provides the building dynamic flexibility to meet the needs of the future, ensuring a long and vibrant life for the building.
A large yet human scale
The new LMB building can support the work of 440 scientists with support staff and administration. While a building of this enormity can seem intimidating, RMJM designed this structure to encourage interaction and easy navigation. There are many windows onto the atrium, which can be crossed at four points on each of the three levels allowing easy access and appreciation of the layout of the building.
In the main laboratory modules, windows into the labs make it easy to locate people from the corridor and create an open, airy environment. The airflow is balanced to allow doors to remain always open.
Energy smart for the next 50 years
With most glass-clad structures like this, heat build-up can become a concern. The RMJM team designed the application of automatic venetian blinds between the standard double-glazing and on outer glass skin to reduce heat collection.
Other energy-saving features include heat recovery wheels, which exchange energy between outgoing and incoming air, a ground source heat pump to exchange heat with the ground, and automatic control of lights to reduce intensity when daylight is available.
Planning for this structure has been going on since 2008 and building with BAM Construction has taken roughly 24 months. To see the building in its current state, visit LMB's live webcam.