James Dyson Building, University of Cambridge

James Dyson Building, University of Cambridge Architecture, Advanced Laboratories, Centre

James Dyson Building, University of Cambridge

Centre for Engineering Design, England, UK – design by Nicholas Hare Architects

4 Mar 2017

James Dyson Building at University of Cambridge

James Dyson Building at University of Cambridge

Design: Nicholas Hare Architects

New photography © Alan Williams photography

The new building occupies a restricted, but important site adjacent to the existing Department of Engineering building and with frontage onto The Fen Causeway – a busy artery into and out of Cambridge. The building aims to raise the department’s profile by providing a ‘window’ into its varied activities and to improve its somewhat undistinguished entrance forecourt.

James Dyson Building at University of Cambridge

The new extension consists of nearly 2,900m2 of postgraduate research and teaching space over four floors, providing open-plan research floors, academic offices, meeting rooms and support spaces. Additional seminar spaces are provided on the ground floor and further teaching and break-out areas are located within a glazed element that links the new facility to the existing Baker Building at each level.

“This new space for Britain’s best engineers at the University of Cambridge will catalyse great technological breakthroughs that transform how we live”.
Sir James Dyson

James Dyson Building at University of Cambridge

The department’s campus is very congested with little space for further expansion. Our brief was therefore to maximise the amount of usable space that would be available for the researchers. This has been achieved by using the in-situ concrete frame to create a large, column-free floorplate (approx. 10m x 38m) on each floor which provides the flexibility for research groups to grow and shrink over time.

James Dyson Building at University of Cambridge James Dyson Building at University of Cambridge

The Department set a very challenging annual energy use target of 100kWh/m2 for combined regulated and unregulated energy. This target will be met through a variety of strategies, including extensive use of assisted natural ventilation (using Breathing Building units) with heat recovery, natural daylight, an exposed in-situ concrete structure, photovoltaic arrays and the use of LED lighting. There is no mechanical cooling and the building is highly insulated and has a demandingly low infiltration rate.

James Dyson Building at University of Cambridge

The building itself will also be an exciting and innovative research tool. NHA worked with a number of the post-graduate research groups to provide opportunities for monitoring the building structure and incorporate materials or components into discrete areas of the building. These include the incorporation of sensors within the building structure as well as the discreet use of innovative materials such as negative carbon blockwork using magnesium etc.

James Dyson Building at University of Cambridge

Our work on this aspect of the project involved acknowledging the academic cycle and availability (and non-availability) of research groups through the year, and also the important role of the contractor in implementing and allowing for the experiments to be built within their own costs and programme.

“Installing CSIC sensing technologies transforms the building from a passive block of material into a living creature. We will be able to ask the building how it is feeling and the building will be able to reply”
Dr Mohammed Elshafie, CSIC

James Dyson Building at University of Cambridge James Dyson Building at University of Cambridge

James Dyson Building University of Cambridge – Technical Information

Client: University of Cambridge
Contract value: £8.8m
Programme (SoS/PC): Sep 2014/Jan 2016
Area: 2,894sqm
New build: 100%
Services provided: RIBA A – L
Contract type: NEC 3

27 May 2016

James Dyson Building, University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge Engineering Buildings opened by Sir James Dyson

James Dyson Building and the Dyson Centre for Engineering Design at the University of Cambridge
photo : Phil Mynott / University of Cambridge

The James Dyson Building and the Dyson Centre for Engineering Design at the University of Cambridge officially opened earlier in May 2016.

The technology hub was designed by Nicholas Hare Architects and funded in part by a £8m donation from the James Dyson Foundation, and will give some of the world’s brightest young engineering students access to advanced laboratories.

The James Dyson Building for Engineering will support world leading research in areas including advanced materials, smart infrastructure and electric vehicles. Fibre-optic sensors in the foundation, piles, columns and floor feed back live data, about temperature and strain – providing a picture of how the building is behaving. The result is a building that’s more of a living creature than a passive block of material: we can ask the building how it’s feeling, and the building can reply.

The Dyson Centre for Engineering Design will teach students about the design process – and provide space for over 1,200 undergraduate engineers to conduct their research.
“This new space for Britain’s best engineers at the University of Cambridge will catalyse great technological breakthroughs that transform how we live.”
Sir James Dyson

Photos © Alan Williams photography

James Dyson Building, University of Cambridge design – Nicholas Hare Architects

More James Dyson buildings in England on e-architect:

James Dyson Design School
Design: Wilkinson Eyre, Architects
Dyson School Bath
picture from architects

Dyson School of Design Innovation Building

The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care
Design: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care Bath
photos © Craig Aukland / Fotohaus

The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care Building


To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.




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