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FCBS wins contest for Edinburgh Uni science tower overhaul

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Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) has won a high-profile competition to regenerate the University of Edinburgh’s 10-storey Darwin Laboratory building

The AJ100 outfit defeated an undisclosed shortlist of rival practices to land the coveted 16,000m² Darwin Laboratory redevelopment job – it’s first major commission in Scotland.

The prize commission comes almost a decade after the practice completed a £13 million nanotechnology centre for University College London.

Planned to complete in 2019, the ambitious project renovates and re-clads a 1960s science tower on the prestigious university’s King’s Buildings campus to the south of the Scottish capital.

Alongside refurbishing the 10,000m² tower FCBS will design two additional lab buildings totalling 4,300m².

An atrium will connect the three buildings to a new 2,000m² hub structure which will feature meetings rooms, offices and catering facilities. 

The project aims to consolidate research activities at the university’s School of Biological Sciences and boost collaboration and cross disciplinary work.

FCBS’s project partner Sam Tyler said: ‘We are delighted to have won the commission for this ambitious project. The project presents a number of exciting design and logistical challenges which will need to be resolved in the delivery of an exemplary facility.’

He continued: ‘The project allows us to continue our exploration of issues around collaborative and flexible working and social environments and to deliver a transformative piece of architecture in the City of Edinburgh.’

Cliff Barraclough, University of Edinburgh estates development manager, commented: ‘The design proposals and delivery approach developed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios aligned with the aspirations of the school to use the redevelopment of the school’s estate to strengthen its world leading position in biological research.

‘The selection committee was excited by the character of spaces and architectural ambition of their winning scheme.’

Belfast-based studio Ostick and Williams is supporting FCBS with the high-profile commission alongside engineers WYG.

RMJM drew up a masterplan for the university’s on-going development in 2009.

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