Cambridge Science Park, UK
The concept seeks to attract entrepreneurial start-ups and act as a hub for the Park where existing businesses, occupiers and visitors can mingle, and where the atmosphere and internal environment encourage and engender serendipitous meeting and interaction
Our scheme for Trinity College on the Cambridge Science Park has involved the recycling of one of the first-generation building plots at the heart of the Park and the creation of the Bradfield Centre. This building, named after the Bursar who was instrumental in instigating the Science Park, exploits its location alongside one of the Park’s lakes, and its unique distinctive arc-shaped plan form provides a hub for start-up businesses and companies seeking to collaborate and mix with existing science based businesses in the Park.
There were early signs during the design process that our clients were seeking a true alternative to a typical office product, something that can create a step change within the Park and to signpost itself as a new shopfront to attract young entrepreneurs.
We worked closely with Bidwells, the College’s property and project management advisors, to help crystalise the brief and develop the concept for the scheme. This Hub building is managed by Central Working and provides space under a membership arrangement where individuals can simply use the space and facilities or where larger groups of 4/6/8 and upwards can take a dedicated ‘private pod’ space, all sharing the common facilities.
The new hub sets a benchmark for the design of future developments in the Park. Conceived as a key building at the heart of the scheme, the facility was designed as a vibrant centre for research and development and offers incubator space for early stage businesses; a natural meeting point for those active in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in Cambridge.
The brief identified the lakeside plot for the Centre and the distinctive arc of the plan form was a direct response to this unique setting. It was a bold solution with the convex outer facade exploiting the landscape environment and lakeside vistas, whilst the concave facade creates a welcoming approach and arrival experience.
The western elevation is glazed to maximise natural daylight penetration into the floorplate and views over the adjacent lake, with deep projecting mullions to shield the solar path. These are coloured yellow and provide a fresh uplifting quality, softened by the perimeter landscape.
“Following the curve of the lake, the building nestles into the environment and feels very much an integral part of its natural surroundings. That makes the Bradfield Centre a very special place”
Facilities include a large ground floor café / restaurant open to occupiers and all Park tenants, a 120 seat lecture theatre, bookable meeting rooms, informal ‘apartment’ break-out areas, private telephone pods, centralised shower rooms, a yoga room and a pavilion ‘beachbar’ / informal meeting space outside the building.
A triple-height atrium maximises internal connectivity, and views towards the lake allow an abundance of daylight into the building. Upper floors can be configured as open or cellular spaces to suit tenant businesses.
The design of the building reflects the underpinning philosophy of the Centre – one of collaboration and community. Upstairs, the open-plan kitchens and dining areas act as a focal point where staff from different companies can congregate for lunch, and team working spaces within the building give a dynamic open working environment that encourages collaboration and creative thinking.
The reception area is wide and generous featuring exposed concrete wall faces but is relaxed in style with the eye drawn to the three storey atrium beyond, flooded with natural light and beautiful shadow-patterns as the sun tracks its path.
The building is rated BREEAM ‘Excellent’ and was joint winner of the Large Building Category at the 2017 Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry (CFCI) Design and Construction Awards, and shortlisted in the 2018 BCO Regional Awards, and the 2018 Office Agents Society Development Awards.
Our design response challenged office building standards both externally and internally. The Bradfield Centre is an outstanding and attractive building which embraces and encourages fluid serendipity and sets a new benchmark for co-working spaces within the region