A major new academic laboratory which reconciles precise scientific requirements with a sensitive approach to its historic site in the pursuit of a landmark, collegial building which will stimulate innovative research and collaboration.
The Sainsbury Laboratory, an 11,000m2 research centre set in the University of Cambridge’s Botanic Garden, will bring together world-leading plant scientists in a high quality building.
Central to the building’s identity is the way in which it will be experienced as a sequence of spaces that are conceived in terms of their relationship with the surrounding garden and connected by a continuous route. The building comprises laboratories, support areas, and meeting spaces, together with a new public cafe and seminar room. A central courtyard provides a space for reflection, debate and interaction.
The sites historic setting required a sensitive contextual response. By sculpting the landscape and levels the buildings mass is reduced. The building has a powerful presence due to its form and the palette of materials used, consisting of glass, metal and stone. The facades are layered to provide depth due to the stone columns and cantilevers.
The building was opened by the Queen in April 2011. The project has won a number of awards and recently won the prestigious 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize.