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A new conference and social facilities building, to be named The Cambridge Building, has been completed by SDC and handed over to Babraham Bioscience Technologies (BBT), the organisation that develops and manages the Babraham Research Campus. The brand new facility includes a 200 seater lecture theatre, additional standalone meeting rooms and break-out spaces, along with a 270 seat restaurant, cafe and bar area. The building is designed as a focal point for both social and conference activities for the Babraham Research campus, and the wider life science community and will be opened in January 2017.
The Cambridge Building is located on the site of the former conference centre and refectory, adjacent to the Grade II listed Babraham Hall. Given the location, the design was required to both contrast and compliment the neighbouring Jacobean-styled hall. Consequently, the predominantly concrete-framed structure was clad using a material palette that comprised curtain walling, terracotta rainscreen panels, and colour-matching renders.
Rather than being formally connected to Babraham Hall, as was the case with the previous structures, the concept for The Cambridge Building was for it to be a separate entity with the exception of a slender glazed link. This meant evidence of the former linking structure had to be removed from the hall’s western elevation, which was achieved through a combination of stone refurbishment and tuck pointing.
The building is organised in an L-shaped configuration, with the frontage being formed using two rectilinear elements broken by a glazed entrance structure that extends beyond the roof line. This feature of the design is used to reference the towers the adorn the hall. The height of the building also pays tribute to the surrounding architecture. The two-storey elements line up with the eaves and stone banding lines on the hall, while the single-storey section exists to reduce the visual impact on the Grade I listed St. Peter’s Church that lies to the south of the site.
Derek Jones, Chief Executive of BBT said, ‘We are delighted to have a modern world-class facility here at Babraham that will become the social heart of the campus. The ability for both the academic and commercial community of the campus and beyond, to have the capability to hold conferences and meetings is an important new feature of the site. The Cambridge Building will support campus activities and we welcome interest from potential users from outside the campus.’