Lincoln Think Tank Building, Marks Barfield Architects

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Lincoln Think Tank

Development in eastern England, UK – design by Marks Barfield Architects

11 Mar 2009

Lincoln Think Tank Building

Design: Marks Barfield Architects

Iridescent innovation centre to attract new science to Lincoln

London Eye architects, Marks Barfield, have completed an iridescent innovation centre in Lincoln. Client Lincoln City Council wanted to develop the site, located within easy walking distance of the university and the City Centre, into a flagship development to stimulate high value, science based employment use.

Lincoln Think Tank Lincoln Think Tank Building Lincoln Think Tank Building
photos © Paul Riddle Photographer,

The 3,230 sq metre building, named the ‘Think Tank’, was completed in 14 months at a total cost of £7.1m, and provides standard and production workspace, conferencing rooms and networking facilities under one ‘innovative environment’ roof.

The iridescent cladding which changes colour depending on the incidence of light, and used here for the first time in the UK, mimics the optical phenomenon found in nature, such as on butterfly wings, sea shells, and flowers. Julia Barfield comments: “Like flowers that use iridescence to attract pollinating bees, we wanted the building to reflect its aim of attracting innovative business and new talent.”

Phil North, Project Manager, City of Lincoln Council adds: “The Think Tank is a flagship development that provides quality designed mixed office and workspace. It will add value to the University by attracting science based innovative businesses, raise the profile and image of Lincoln, influence the quality and type of future public and private sector developments in the locality, and provide value for money both in terms of cost and job ratios.”

The Think Tank is built close to where the first ever tanks were tested during the First World War and is designed as a model of sustainable design using a combination of active and passive measures to deliver the best performance and result for least cost over the long term.

The building is highly insulated, with exposed concrete soffits used in conjunction with night ventilation to provide passive and radiant cooling. Heating is provided by a ground source heat pump system feeding underfloor heating circuits which provides 70% of the building’s heat energy.

The roof lights are designed so that photovoltaic panels can be placed at their optimum angle of 30° from the horizon and facing south.

The production workspace units on the ground floor and office units on the first floor face north to provide daylight without solar gain, creating a saw-tooth façade. The biodiverse roof has been planted to resemble a Lincolnshire meadow.

The building has 9 production workspace units and 21 offices to let. Key to the design was the need to optimize flexible working and provide social spaces for networking. A hub area has been created to provide an attractive shared space where tenants could get together and exchange ideas. Networking of companies, students, university faculties and business support agencies is encouraged through a proactive on site mentoring/ management team. There are shared facilities for new graduate SME’s, and a first class ICT infrastructure to stimulate e-business and increase product and process innovation. Lincoln Think Tank will open its doors to new businesses and tenants on 6th April 2009.

Lincoln Think Tank – Building Information

Client: City of Lincoln Council
City Of Lincoln Council obtained funding for the project from the European Objective 2 programme, East Midlands Development Agency, Lincolnshire Enterprise and Lincolnshire County Council. The Council will be operating the building as an innovation hub for the County in part of the Innovation Lincolnshire project and alongside its two other highly successful managed business space buildings.

Architect: Marks Barfield Architects
Marks Barfield is the internationally renowned, award-winning team behind the creation of the London Eye and the recently completed Treetop walkway in Kew Gardens. Their aim is to deliver landmark projects that are imaginative, sustainable, and a pleasure to experience.

Over the last 10 year’s MBA has won over 50 awards, including Architecture Practice of the Year Award, and the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation).

Structural Engineer: Jacobs UK Ltd
Environmental & Services Engineer: XC02
Quantity Surveyor: Thornton Firkin

Lincoln Think Tank images / information from marks barfield architects 110309

Marks Barfield Architects

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

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Lincoln Think Tank Building

Website: England