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Barr Ellison Solicitors – commercial property
16 April, 2018 - 13:44 By Kate Sweeney

University forges ahead with trailblazing shared facilities hub

A trailblazing shared facilities hub designed by Cambridge University to nurture collaboration between future generations of scientists and engineers and develop a broader sense of community has won approval from city planners.

The brainstorming nexus is being created at the University’s West Cambridge site. Construction will start in 2019 with a planned completion date of early 2021.

Designed by Jestico and Whiles, the building is set to be a hive that generates a real buzz. The university wants it to encourage social interaction and extend vitality on the site beyond the traditional working day. The design is outward facing linking the internal catering spaces with the new open spaces adjacent.

It will be the first non-departmental facility at West Cambridge and will provide amenities for site users and the community beyond.

The aim is to help improve staff well-being as well as providing an environment to encourage collaboration between departments and industry partners whilst making more efficient use of resources.

Chris Young, chair of the project board for the Shared Facilities Hub said: “The university is planning for the next generation of scientists and engineers through the development of the West Cambridge site. The ambition is to create spaces that nurture collaboration between and beyond academics and researchers, which the new shared facilities hub will bring, and to foster a greater sense of place.”

The range of proposed facilities are based around the themes of nourish, study and collaboration. A shop and café are located on the ground floor to attract passers-by and provide a welcoming environment. 

The first floor includes provision for teaching spaces, library offices and low intensity study, while the second floor has space for high intensity study and meeting areas for collaboration.

The shared facilities hub will be located in a prominent location directly overlooking JJ Thomson Avenue and JJ Thomson Gardens which will be a newly landscaped outdoor amenity space to benefit all site users. 

The building lies to the south of the planned new Cavendish III building for the Department of Physics which received planning permission in February 2018.

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