The deisgn of a new university laboratory building for the Chilworth Science Park
Howard Clarke, Carl Leroy-Smith
The proposal is designed to replace the existing pre-cast concrete portal frame engineering laboratory which has been deemed unfit for future use. The new building is a modern take on the existing structure with the primary space comprising of a series of glulam portal frames and provides an open floor plate that allows for future sub-division and flexibility.
The building footprint has been extended to the north and provides space for offices and other ancillary space at first floor level. Space has been left at the front of the building to ensure an articulated lorry can comfortably manoeuvre in and out of the site for deliveries. A series of long spanning veriendeel trusses support this space to create a clear space within the laboratory area.
In the laboratory space, the roof consists of a series of alternating Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) panels and fritted glazing. The fritted glazing creates a naturally lit space whilst minimising the level of solar thermal gain. The walls of the lab are also CLT panels and help with the lateral stability of the structure, in particular when exerted to wind loads.
Externally, the front of the building cantilevers to enhance the front elevation and to create a prominent entrance for both users and deliveries. The office space is clad in stained horizontal European oak planks with the laboratory space clad in the same planks vertically.
Overall, all areas of the existing building have been improved in the design proposal without its functionality being compromised. The space is also now a much more pleasant space to work in given the use of natural materials and daylighting.