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HDR completes Roslin Institute in Edinburgh

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[FIRST LOOK + PLANS + PROJECT DATA] American giant HDR Architecture has completed this £60 million research centre for the University of Edinburgh in Scotland

Designed to create a ‘next generation’ environment for the university’s bioscience researchers, the 14,000 mbuilding accommodates up to 460 staff in open plan and cellular offices.

David Mann, programme director, said: ‘The brief for The Roslin Institute Building was to produce a building that people working there would be proud of. 

Shaped and refined over the intervening years by the less poetic constraints of time and money, this brief has remained unchanged and we feel that the end result has the integrity of design which we aspired to achieve.  Over the building’s lifetime we hope it will invigorate the work of the researchers and also give them pleasure.’

Inspired by the human chromosome’s form, the institute’s labs are arranged around a central ‘strand-shaped’ social area.


Project data

Architects: HDR Architects
Location: Midlothian
Type Of Project: Science and technology - Offices and Laboratories
Structural Engineers: AECOM
Project Architect: Brian Kowalchuk
Design Team: Design Director - Brian Kowalchuk; Senior Architect - Tom Smith; Principal Laboratory Planner - Mark Bryan; Project Director - Bea Sennewald; Project Manager - Marc Edmondson; Strategic Facilities Planner - Rachel Park; Site Architect - Rob McGill;
Client: Bush Research Consortium EBRC: The Roslin Institute; The Scottish Agricultural College; The Moredun Research Institute; The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh
Funding: BBSCR
Tender date: 5 November 2008
Start on site date: 9 Feb 2009
Contract duration:  9 Feb 2009 - 3 December 2010
Gross internal floor area: 14,400 m2
Form of contract and/or procurement:  2 stage NEC contract
Total cost: £60 million
M&e consultant:  AECOM
Quantity surveyor: Turner & Townsend
Planning supervisor: Rydens
Lighting consultant: N/A
Main contractor: BAM
Selected subcontractors and suppliers: Curtain walling system - Schüco International KG; Brass Cladding – Luvata; Cast Stone - Premier Precast (Scotland); Roof Membrane - Sarnafil Limited; Insulation – Kingspan; Metal Louvers - Colt International Limited; Doors - Dortek, Leaderflush Shapland; Ironmongery - 3v; Manufactured Joinery - Thomas Johnstone; Architectural Metalwork - M&S Engineering; Suspended Ceilings - Armstrong World Industries Ltd., & SAS International; Auditorium Tiered Seating - Specialists in Seating; Acoustic Panel Lining – Gustafs; Cubicles - Thrislington Sales Limited; Tiling - Domus, Johnson Tiles; Worktops - SEIEFFE INDUSTRIE, DuPont Powder Coatings; Sanitary Appliances - Armitage Shanks; Fire Curtains - Coopers Fire Limited; Laboratory Benching - Byrum Labflex; Raised Access Flooring - Quiligotti Access Flooring; Resin Flooring - RSL (Resin Surfaces Ltd.); Epoxy Wall Coatings - Tremco Limited; Carpet - Interface Europe; Vinyl Flooring - Polyflor Ltd, 7 Armstrong Floor Products Europe; Linoleum Flooring - Forbo Flooring; Blinds - Sunrite Blinds Limited; Signage - Modulex Systems; Boilers – Remeha; Air-handling units - Flakt Woods; Chillers - Flakt Woods; BMS - Schneider Electric; Ductwork - Galloway
Annual co2 emissions: 4 kg CO2/m2/annum



  • The office and meeting areas are designed purposefully without air-conditioning. Open windows, window blinds, special glass coating, external sunshades and skylights that double as exhaust chimneys are designed to keep the air flowing and cool people during hot days
  • The use of concrete as thermal mass and higher-than-regulation air tightness lower electricity usage reduce the size of the building’s carbon footprint.  These are part of a series of features that have earned the design element of the project a BREEAM ‘very good’rating
  • The building has some 60 cellular offices but the primary office design is open plan with various acoustic techniques employed to mitigate noise
  • Size: 14,000m2
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