The building is designed around the University’s specific model for creating a pathway for students in science; an environment where students can develop into student researchers and ultimately into lead researchers.
An integral part of the brief was for the project to have a ‘transformative’ effect in terms of the architecture and identity of the campus, which had previously been built within the strict guidelines for materials and heights.
A major stairway rises through the centre of the building, connecting the student and research levels – as a form of representation of the ‘pathway’. The cellular exterior of the building is derived from ideas about expressing the molecular research that is being undertaken within the building, and is adjusted via the materiality of the building itself.
The walls are primarily precast concrete, with the cells providing a ‘lower’ and ‘upper’ window into the various spaces, aiding the penetration of daylight. The cellular concept also creates a framework for a number of distinctive spaces for students to occupy or for research staff to meet and collaborate.