COMMENDATION, PUBLISHED IN ‘BEST OF THE STUDENT
SHOWS 2011’ BLUEPRINT MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 2011 (UK)
The project is a UCL research centre for emerging sciences situated in Camden, London. The brief requires a variety of high quality, highly serviced laboratory spaces capable of quick and frequent adaptation to respond to the latest technological advances. The building must also respond to the human requirement for place and identity by providing quality spaces capable of supporting and encouraging communication and cross-fertilisation between research disciplines. The thesis attempts to resolve the apparent contradiction between the flexible but essentially place-less functionality of an ‘Archigram’ plug-in system and the civic need for place and accumulated memory within the city.
The building consists of a heavy, permanent, concrete plinth embedded in the site. This servant zone responds to the existing urban fabric and contains the service spine and circulation as well as workshops, support spaces and static accommodation.
The flexible laboratory spaces above consist of lightweight steel frame pavilions. The volumetric pods are pre-fabricated and then transported to site and assembled before being craned into place and connected to the infrastructural network. This ‘plug-and-play’ system optimises the quality of the factory-finished laboratory units, minimises disruption and down-time for the facility and allows for rapid expansion, contraction and modification as required.
While the laboratory spaces are designed to be transient and short-term, the polyvalent plinth element is designed to outlast the functional life of the building, supporting evolving functions while retaining a continuous accumulated memory of inhabitation embedded within the urban fabric.
Status: School Project
Location: London, GB