Harwell Science and Innovation Campus

Harwell Science and Innovation Campus

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The Harwell Campus is a site of national importance in the field of scientific research and innovation. The site boasts several world firsts, including finding the world’s largest prime number and the development of the first ever energy producing fission reactor.

Located on a former RAF base to the south of Oxford and just 2 miles outside of Didcot, the site spans 710 acres and is home to over 225+ organisations ranging from small start-ups to multi-national organisations and key UK Research Councils. Core business activities for these companies include healthcare, space exploration, detector systems, computing, green enterprise and new materials.

SDC has recently handed over two new projects at the Harwell Campus. The first scheme, the Cobalt Building, involved the construction and subsequent fit out of a workspace building. The works comprised dry/light laboratories, open plan office spaces, a training centre, production area, meeting rooms, restaurant and external car park. The building was formed using a steel-frame with the façade comprising a combination of glazing, half-round metallic silver cladding and flat composite panels in a vertical zig-zag pattern. In addition, there is full height glazing in front of a double height reception, which is composed of a random combination of clear and acid etched panels. Projecting transom extrusions are used to further articulate the façade. This design is repeated to the opposite corner of the building to provide views across a landscaped area from the boardroom and restaurant. Associated works involved floor, ceiling and wall finishes, raised access flooring and floor boxes, partitions (plasterboard and glass), joinery and mechanical and electrical installations.

The second scheme, Nanopore, involved the construction of a double-height, single-storey building on the Harwell Campus for Oxford Nanopore Technologies. The 3,200 sq.m building represents a significant increase in Nanopore’s manufacturing capabilities, with facilities including high-specification clean rooms, laboratories, office space and logistics areas. The site will be used to rapidly increase the speed at which Nanopore’s DNA/RNA sequencing products can be manufactured and distributed across the globe. The building itself is constructed using a steel-portal frame and is clad in a palette of silver and grey composite panels to provide a sensitive backdrop to the perimeter landscaping and create a striking, contemporary appearance. Included as part of this contract was the formation of a new ‘Landscaped Corridor’ to the west of the site, linking Fermi Avenue to the south and Becquerel Avenue to the north. Other external works included the provision of a new 108 space car park, cycle storage, bin storage, seating, soft and hard landscaping.

Prior to these new-builds, SDC also completed the first two of five new buildings in a new ‘quadrangle’ on the Harwell Campus. Quad One is a linear block of east-west orientation that comprises three-storeys of accommodation for small and medium enterprises. Housing offices, laboratories and meeting spaces, the primary function is to provide flexible research facilities that caters for a wide variety of prospective tenants. Constructed using a structural steel frame in a 7x7m arrangement above pad foundations, the façade comprises applied fins and curtain wall panels wrapping around the building. The building houses offices, laboratories and meeting spaces. The communal spaces are finished to a high standard and the remainder is left as shell and core for future fit-out. The building achieved a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’.

The Pavilion, meanwhile, is orientated north-south and positioned on the eastern edge of Quad One. The single-storey structure is an amenity building constructed from a structural steel frame and clad in polycarbonate sheets. The building incorporates a gym and café for the campus-wide community.

SDC is currently working on R92 Laboratory Extension on the Campus.

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