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Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge

Reconciling complex scientific requirements with a stimulating environment

  • Cambridge, United Kingdom

    Cambridge, United Kingdom

An international research laboratory for the study of plant development, in the Botanic Garden, University of Cambridge

The Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (or SLCU) is located in Cambridge University Botanic Garden. But the design challenge was to reconcile complex scientific requirements with the need for a work of architecture that also responded to its landscape setting and provided a collegial, stimulating, environment for innovative research and collaboration. SLCU’s aim? To elucidate the regulatory systems underlying plant growth and plant development.

Our team were project and contract administrators on the prestigious 11,000 square metre development. We oversaw the management of the two-stage procurement process, instigation of early enabling works ahead of design completion, and liaison between the design team and contractor to ensure an excellent BREEAM rating and permanent on-site representation.

The Sainsbury Laboratory houses 120 scientists in state-of-the-art laboratory facilities which include over 35 plant growth facilities, experimental glasshouses, wet laboratories, seminar rooms, a 150-seat lecture theatre, and office space. The building also provides a home for the university herbarium, which contains over one million pressed and dried plant specimens from all over the world, including those collected by Charles Darwin on the Beagle voyage. 

At a Glance

  • University of Cambridge
Meet Our Team

Nick Patterson, Director, Buildings East

I find the design process exciting and believe successful engineering design evolves from early, open-minded dialogue and collaboration.

Nick Patterson

Director, Buildings East

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