BAM construction will build the £61m National Graphene Institute (NGI) for the University of Manchester, which is designed by Jestico + Whiles.
The NGI will find commercial applications for Graphene, which is only one atom thick, and is 200 times stronger than steel, making it the strongest, thinnest and most conductive material.
Covering the complete footprint of the site, the building will be housed within a 7,626m2, five-storey building, located in the main university campus.
It will feature a 1,500m2 research lab, referred to as clean-room, for graphene scientists on the lower ground floor for minimal vibration.
The building will also include a second clean-room, plus laser, optical, metrology and chemical laboratories, seminar room and offices and ancillary accommodation.
All these services are scattered throughout all floors to take maximum advantage of natural views and daylight.
Linking two floors, a double height breakout space illuminated at the top, provides a relaxing space. A roof terrace is also featured which forms part of the top floor social and public area.
The building is enveloped by an inner skin which is made of a composite cladding panel system that provides weather tightness and thermal insulation.
The skin also accommodates flush windows and other openings.
A separate perforated stainless steel ‘veil’ is fixed to the outside of this inner skin, which is wrapped around the volumes of the different elements of the building to provide a unifying texture and fluid shape.
Cut-outs in this perforated steel veil offer views out and also provide openings for window cleaning through water fed extendable pole or cherry picker.
Gantries are provided at first, second and third floors along the south façade for window cleaning.
The client project team includes EC Harris as lead consultant, CH2M Hill as the retained consultant, and Ramboll as civil and structural engineer. BAM Design will provide technical architect services.
The European Regional Development Fund has provided £23m while Physical Sciences Research Council granted £38m to the University of Manchester for the The National Graphene Institute Project.
Work on the site will start in July 2013, with completion in 2015.
Graphene was discovered by Manchester’s Nobel prize-winning scientists Professors Andre Geim and Kostantin Novoselov.