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Kier cleared to start £79m Cambridge labs

3 Feb 16 The University of Cambridge has been granted planning permission for a new £79m research facility, which is to be built by Kier.

CGI of Project Capella on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus
CGI of Project Capella on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Called Project Capella, the six-storey development will be next to the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute within the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, providing 18,000m2 of office and laboratory space.  It will house the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology & Infectious Disease, The Milner Therapeutics Institute and Cambridge Centre for Haematopoiesis and Haematological Malignancies.

Project Capella is Kier’s 23rd contract with the university since 1996. Kier was appointed to the scheme back in November 2014. At that time the cost was put at £58m.

The project has been designed by architects from The Fairhursts Design Group. The wider development team includes Arup as consulting engineer, Arcadis as project manager and Aecom as cost consultant. Completion is scheduled for spring 2018.

Externally the building has a two-storey glazed box with gold metal detailing and double height entrance foyer, while the spine is to be clad in a flat-faced graphite panel.

Kier project lead Shak Chowdhury said: “Project Capella is a great example of how lean construction techniques can be used in the development of a project to get it from the drawing board and into construction in the shortest timeframe. The university is one of our longest-standing clients, having first worked together in 1996. Collaboration has always been key to the long-term success of this relationship, and once again it’s this teamwork by all involved that has formed the successful foundations for Project Capella, our 23rd scheme together. This open and transparent approach has enabled an £79m complex research facility to progress from having no design to being on site in just 12 months.”

Mark Adey, director at The Fairhursts Design Group, added: “The proposed building will provide a cutting edge facility appropriate for the complex research currently being carried out in isolated, outdated facilities across Cambridge. Our design uses forms and materials that respect the existing built environment, and will further enhance the Cambridge Biomedical Campus through associated realm and landscaping in accordance with the ethos of development including the 2020 vision.”

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