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Cambridge charts its next building phase

Danish architect Erik Christian Sorensen is back at Cambridge University working on one of two new buildings recommended by planners for approval, and totalling £32.5 million.

Sorensen's firm, Zibransten Architects, is working on the detailed design of the building with local practice cmc Architects. It will cost around £5 million to build in the city centre, but the university will not pay a penny. Equipping and running the Unilever Centre for Molecular Science and Informatics will push up the cost to the firm to £13 million.

The other building, the bp Institute by Cowper Griffith Associates, is a three-storey extension to the earth sciences department and will house 30 professors. The £1.5 million brick building will include administration space for applied maths, chemical engineering and engineering under a pitched roof. The total endowment will be £19.5 million and building work starts in August.

Meanwhile, the council has recommended approval of a 66ha masterplan by MacCormac Jamieson Prichard for a campus in west Cambridge, with 73,000m2 of science departments, 24,000m2 of academic research and 41,000m2 of commercial research, a 200-bedroom living block, sports hall, restaurant and cafe.

bdp is working on an engineering block and rmjm on a materials-sciences building design. Liz Pride, an associate for the masterplanner, said her practice was also keen to be involved in detailed design work. The project will be phased and start dates were vague. 'When you have 18 professors in a department and each has a different view it inevitably holds things up,' she said.

The university is still fundraising. William H Gates Foundation has pledged £20 million and Dr Gordon More and wife Betty, £7.5 million.

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