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Hopkins' Cambridge research centre handed Grade II* listing

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The landmark Schlumberger Gould Research Centre in Cambridge by Hopkins Architects has been listed at Grade II* by heritage minister Tracey Crouch

The 1985 building, which features a suspended glass-fibre fabric roof, was characteristic of the High-Tech architectural movement in Britain at the time – a style spearheaded by practice founders Patty and Michael Hopkins.

The research centre was built for oilfield services company Schlumberger and is used for testing new oil drilling techniques. It includes a large central meeting area, called the Winter Garden, which benefits from the futuristic roof, which allows natural light to diffuse into the space.

Heritage minister Crouch, who rubber-stamped Historic England’s recommendation to give the centre statutory protection, praised the building for the way it ‘challenged conventions with its innovative use of space and new materials’.

She added: ‘It stands as a testament to the High-Tech Movement of the 1980s and this listing will ensure the building can be preserved for future generations and remains a highlight of Cambridge architecture.’

Michael Hopkins of Hopkins Architects said he was ‘thrilled’ the building had been listed.

He added: ‘Thinking back, it brings to mind two key players in the development of the design. Firstly, Bernard Vivet, director of research, who wanted the testing operations to be the heart of the building, rather than relegating these potentially dirty and noisy operations to the far end of the site.’.

‘Secondly, Peter Studdert, planning officer, who encouraged a joyous roof, knowing it would be seen on the skyline from west Cambridge, together with King’s College Chapel and the University Library. Its appearance today, 30 years on, is a tribute to Schlumberger’s continuing care and upkeep.’

Roger Bowdler, director of listing for Historic England said: ‘The Schlumberger Gould Research Centre is an extremely important piece of High-Tech architecture by one of the leading British architects of recent times.

‘It is of more than special interest as a flexible and highly prestigious building, which promoted the company and reflected the advanced design and technology of its products.’

Patty and Michael Hopkins, who together founded Hopkins Architects in 1976, were awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects Royal Gold Medal for their services to architecture in 1994. 

Schlumberger 2

Schlumberger 2

Source: Historic England

Schlumberger Gould Research Centre in Cambridge by Hopkins Architects

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