• Client Cardiff University

  • Type Education, Health

  • Location Cardiff

Shaped to soften the building's impact on the adjacent residential properties, the feature cone, housing meeting rooms, library and common room establish the entrance to both the site and the building itself.

Horizontal solar shading fins were incorporated into the laboratories' southern façade to minimise internal summer heat gains. The colour coding on the fins represents the gene sequence of part of the TSC2 gene, first identified by genetic researchers at Cardiff University. Each of the 4 DNA bases (letters of the genetic code) is represented by a different colour. Damage to this DNA sequence leads to problems including kidney and brain tumours which are now being treated using a drug that can replace the faulty gene's function.

In addition to the functional lab and support accommodation, it was identified that common and meeting room areas were required where researchers could retire from the research environment to reflect and collaborate. We were given direct access to the research groups to discuss and develop both the brief and ultimately the building layout. As a result of this process and to improve productivity, write-up workstations were integrated into the lab worktops (designed by Rio) within the laboratories.

The palette of materials was minimised to unify the building composition. To accentuate the building's curved forms and coloured fenestration, most of the external walls were clad in a white insulated render. Pre-patinated zinc cladding has been used on the cone to add visual interest and draw attention to the main entrance.