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In 1999, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in conjunction with the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council, unveiled a masterplan for the expansion of the world-renowned Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
Known as the 2020 vision, the plan was to create an ‘urban healthcare village’ that included a 121-acre country park, 4,000 new homes and 90 acres of developments to enhance the existing facilities. As part of this expansion, SDC was appointed to construct a new research building that is linked to the Addenbrooke’s Treatment Centre (ATC) and the Addenbrooke’s Centre for Clinical Investigations (ACCI).
Constructed under the codename of Project Gemma, the building is subdivided into five zones, namely early-phase trials, interventional investigation, clinical research, eating behaviour (metabolic), and support areas. The highly serviced clinical rooms are located within a central ‘core’ zone, while the administration, recovery and social functions are set around the perimeter to maximise the use of natural light and ventilation.
The building itself is a six-storey concrete framed structure that is enclosed by live hospital buildings on three elevations and the busy High Street on the fourth. Aside from the normal issues associated with working in a live environment, such as minimising noise, dust and vibration, the project was further complicated by the need to excavate a basement and create a partial tunnel that links to the new £120m ‘Forum’ being constructed opposite SDC’s site. Above ground, Project Gemma utilises bridges to connect to the ATC building on level 3 and the ACCI on level 5.
In addition, the building features a combination of reconstituted stone pre-cast units and bronze-tone aluminium cladding panels. This high quality material palette was selected because the centre has a prominent location positioned between the current hospital and a new public space called the Circus, which is positioned at the heart of the Biomedical Campus. Finally, the scheme included the refurbishment of an existing canopy to the ATC entrance, ambulance drop off bays and a courtyard space. Project Gemma was handed over in January and is due to open its doors in March 2017.
Congratulations to everyone involved with Project Gemma for helping SDC to achieve its highest Considerate Constructors’ score to date – 88 out of 100. Jim Granger, the designated Compliance Inspector for the scheme, was highly impressed by the team’s efforts, commending them for ‘continuing to show a true commitment to their responsibilities and CCS expectations by maintaining, improving and presenting all their project activities at a high level.’
Areas singled out for particular praise included the cleanliness of the welfare facilities, the display of artwork on the site hoarding from patients of the children’s cancer ward, and the hosting of several educational visits.