Notts cityscape transformed by flagship science centre

The East Midlands’ newest and most exciting science and business hub has opened its doors, after two years of work and a £30 million investment.

The new Bioscience building, based in Nottingham, has been hailed as a flagship project as part of the Midlands Engine initiative. It has now welcomed eight new tenants and an anticipated 350 new users – thanks to a cohort of the region’s biggest and best partners.

Built adjacent to the existing BioCity building, the contemporary new build stands at five floors, featuring state-of-the-art laboratories as well as modern office space concentrated on the ground floor. It is an impressive 6,830 sq metres, which is predominantly occupied by the project’s main tenant, Syngnature Discovery – an independent provider of integrated drug discovery resource and expertise.

Pick Everard – the leading independent management, design and construction consultancy – delivered building surveying services and NEC supervision as part of Bioscience’s construction.

David Harris, national director at Pick Everard, said:

“The original BioCity building has been in the city since 2003 and, in 2014, it stood at 90 per cent capacity. It is apparent that the thirst for development and growth is now really picking up pace.

“The work was procured through the Scape National Project Management and Quantity Surveying framework and we worked closely with a number of different partners – the majority of whom are based in Nottingham. This has really helped fly the flag for the city and its construction and creative industries.

“Nottingham City Council’s substantial investment in this flagship project is a further demonstration of its on-going commitment to inner-city development and we’re delighted that through showcasing the development, including at MIPIM, we’ve been able to promote the fantastic facilities available and the strength Nottingham has in the STEM sector. It really is one of the top five projects in the city, having gained national and international recognition.

“The mixed-use nature of the building – ranging from laboratories and office space, to café facilities and chemical and solvent storage rooms – means that this project required careful attention to detail, strong leadership and the dedication of our NEC supervisor team to deliver a defect free handover. This met all of our agreed project programme and budgetary constraints.

“As a business with an office in the city and strong roots in the East Midlands, we jumped at the chance to be involved in creating a revolutionary re-imagining of Nottingham’s cityscape and it’s incredible to see such an impressive building now dominate the Eastern quarter of Nottingham regeneration projects.”

Matt Greenhalgh, architect and project lead from CPMG Architects, which designed the impressive new addition to Nottingham’s cityscape, said:

“This is the culmination of more than three years of hard work and dedication by the client, consultant and contractor teams. This first rate laboratory and office building is a testament to the vision shown by the city council and the collaborative approach undertaken from the outset.

“Consisting of a ‘stone’ ground floor podium that responds to the irregular shape of the site, and a simple four storey bronze anodised cuboid above, the building form is simple yet elegant. Offices and conference facilities are located in the ground floor podium level and the upper storeys are dedicated to category two laboratories, specialist laboratories and associated office spaces.

“A stand out feature of the design element is the 55m x 17m artist designed solar screen, constructed from more than 1,000 stainless steel cables, which wraps around the southern and western façades of the building, providing it with a distinct identity as well as providing solar shading.

“Conceptualised by the award-winning artist Wolfgang Buttress, it has science at its heart. Linked via NASA satellites orbiting the sun, the artwork directly responds to the intensity and location of solar flares emanating from the surface of the sun which will manifest through the ebb, flow and intensity of the illumination.

“In addition to this innovation, the building was realised through the adoption of level 2 BIM. The design team utilised BIM to work collaboratively in a 3D environment to design and develop the construction information. A thorough clash rendition process was also undertaken to mitigate on site clashes.

“This is an incredibly important building for Nottingham in an urban and political sense, driving innovation in Nottingham’s rich science sector. CPMG is extremely proud to have been involved in realising this first-rate laboratory facility and we hope that it will inspire its users and visitors to build on their good work, cementing Nottingham as a leading science city.”

This flagship project was completed by one of the country’s most prevalent construction firms, Willmott Dixon. Nick Heath, operations director at Willmott Dixon in the East Midlands, said: “We are so proud to be part of this iconic scheme at BioCity – which will have a positive impact on the local community and cement Nottingham as the place for life sciences in the UK.

“The Bioscience building has been a great project for us, allowing us to support the skills and training of young people locally through site visits, training and apprenticeships.”

Nottingham City Council anticipates that the new building will generate jobs and growth in the emerging life sciences sector, and has invested £24 million – with £6 million from Local Enterprise Partnership D2N2 – to fund construction on the site.

Councillor Jon Collins, leader of Nottingham City Council, said:

“It speaks volumes to Nottingham’s progress that we are able to open not only 50,000 ft2 of new lab space, but we have a unique display of what scientific discovery can create from such a renowned artist as Wolfgang Buttress.

“We have been keen to wo

rk with BioCity and Wolfgang to develop this building and highlight our support of the growing and innovative life sciences sector and our local artists in Nottingham.”