Work has finished on BMJ Architects’ £4.2 million Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology (CMBC) for the University of Warwick
It houses two floors of laboratory space for the university’s cancer research teams, and is one of a pair of projects the practice has recently completed on campus (see the description of the Materials and Analytical Sciences Building below).
According to the architects, the CMBC’s exterior features serve both an aesthetic and environmental purpose and features coated glass, night-purge cooling vents for mixed-mode ventilation and ‘solar shading fins which turn their orientation from horizontal to vertical as they corner the building in response to the sun dropping in the sky’.
BMJ achitect, Duncan Leach, said: ‘All parties involved in these projects collaborated to reconcile these complex and elegant buildings to the highest standards of sustainable design, which will serve the university well for years to come.’
The architect’s view of sister building the MASB
The MASB was designed to encourage interaction between science disciplines, with great openness and transparency putting the ‘science on show,’ and will house both physics and chemistry department research scientists. The £24million project took 18 months to complete, and consists of four floors of laboratory and office space.
The main laboratory block of the building was designed as a rectilinear block that responds in scale, mass, form and materials to the original 1960s neighbours connected by an inhabited bridge into the campus’ existing elevated walkways. The electron microscopy suite, configured as single storey accommodation to avoid vibration from above interfering with the instruments, bursts through the exterior of the building as a curved, serpentine wall that gives an intriguing suggestion of the special functions occurring within and provides an appropriate welcome for visitors to the university campus. Its imposing brick exterior is transformed at night by the incorporation of fibre optic lighting.
In accommodating researchers from the two science departments, BMJ needed to include a diverse array of science facilities within the building, including High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopes capable of imaging single atoms, X-ray equipment and synthetic chemistry. The build is designed in a modular floor plan to allow the rooms to change configuration based on occupants’ needs.
Given the MASB’s volume of high-tech research equipment, BMJ was challenged to design a stable space, especially for the microscopes, which have strict requirements in terms of temperature stability and vibration control. To solve this, the high-mass room was lined with temperature-controlled panels, and each microscope was installed on a dedicated independent foundation to ensure an exceptionally stable environment for the equipment.