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Bouygues UK to work with University of Cambridge on state-of-the-art physics laboratory and shared facilities hub

Bouygues UK, one of the country’s leading construction companies, along with group company Bouygues Energies & Services and design partners NBBJ and BDP, has been selected by the University of Cambridge to provide consultancy support to the university’s existing project team to develop proposals for a new state-of-the-art physics laboratory and a neighbouring shared facilities hub.

Lynxvale Limited, the development arm of the University of Cambridge, has awarded Bouygues UK an £8.5 million professional services contract to provide preconstruction input on these two new buildings on the university’s West Cambridge campus. The scheme is the first to be procured under the university’s contractors’ framework. Bouygues UK won a place on the upper tier of the framework last summer.

The commission, which encompasses a range of activities during RIBA Design Stages 3 and 4, will run for a period of up to 18 months. Construction of the new facilities is set to begin in early 2019 with a target completion date of December 2021.

The Cavendish III laboratory will be a purpose-built centre for world-leading research for the university’s Department of Physics, bringing the large number of research groups in the department together under one roof to encourage collaboration. Scheme design is by Jestico + Whiles with CH2M, and they remain client side. NBBJ and BDP are taking the design through to completion.

With a GIA of around 344,500 sq ft, Cavendish III will house a range of laboratories, offices, clean rooms, workshops and multiple lecture theatres. The basement area will incorporate specialist acoustic and vibration treatments to achieve the stringent control criteria necessary for operating equipment highly sensitive to vibration. There are also challenging criteria to be met in relation to temperature and humidity control and EMI protection.

The independent Shared Facilities Hub, with a GIA of approximately 54,000 sq ft, will provide catering, collaborative teaching, meeting, study and library spaces to the West Cambridge campus. The catering services will include a licensed bar/café with a range of food outlets. The hub will bring academic, support and research staff together with the undergraduate and PhD communities.

Cambridge is a key location for Bouygues UK, which is also the main contractor for The Triangle, the new home for Cambridge Assessment, the University of Cambridge’s international exams group. Bouygues Energies & Services also has a long-term energy partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council to help it reduce its costs and carbon footprint.

Fabienne Viala, Chair of Bouygues UK, said: “This exciting project sees two of our group companies collaborating to apply their technical expertise to develop proposals for world-class buildings that are fit to support the high standards of teaching and research for which the University of Cambridge is so renowned across the globe. We relish technically complex projects and look forward to working with the university’s project team and our partners at NBBJ and BDP to create new facilities that incorporate the stringent criteria required of a physics laboratory that is set to be the base for internationally significant research.”

Professor Andy Parker, Head of the Cavendish Laboratory at The University of Cambridge, said: “In addition to serving as a home for physics research at Cambridge, the new Cavendish Laboratory will be a top-class facility for the nation – much of the specialised research equipment in the new building will be made available to other institutions. The new facility will be designed to match the more exacting standards of current research, serving the educational needs of future generations of students much better than is possible at our existing site. Capacity for public events has also been incorporated in the design, so that our extensive programme of work with schools, and with the general public, will continue to serve the local population well into the future.”

David Lewis, Partner at NBBJ said: “We are honoured to be working on a project of such distinction and technical complexity. Working collaboratively with the University of Cambridge, Bouygues UK and the project team we can bring our experience and skills to help realise a world-class facility which will attract the best talent in the UK and across the globe. The design and delivery of the building will enhance the pursuit of scientific breakthroughs, a forward-thinking workplace, and a true centre of excellence.”

John Roycroft, Civil and Structural Principal at BDP said: “BDP’s Interdisciplinary Engineering Team are delighted to bring technical excellence and proven track record to the project in the fields of MEP, Civil & Structural and Acoustics & Vibration Services. We are looking forward to collaborating with the Bouygues UK team to deliver this world leading project for the University of Cambridge.”

Images © Jestico + Whiles