University of Cambridge Materials Science and Metallurgy Building

Designed to accommodate the most sensitive microscopy research, the Materials Science and Metallurgy Building provides one of the quietest environments for the full range of materials science.

The new building for the University of Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy provides a new home for the department on the Physical Sciences campus in West Cambridge. The department is committed to making significant advances in the synthesis, processing and characterization of materials to deliver enhanced performance and addressing issues of sustainability and the scarcity of resources.

Formerly housed within five buildings in the city center, the 10,700-square-meter building consolidated the department’s staff, students and resources and provides new teaching space, offices, laboratories and specialized support spaces, including a large, free-standing Electron Microscopy Suite designed for the most sensitive microscopy research. Key project goals were to maximize opportunities for scientific interaction and provide for safe and efficient operations while providing a new and recognizable home for material scientists.

The building is designed to accommodate a range of scientific activity ranging from basic metallurgy through bio- and electro-chemistry, nano-science, coating and ceramics technology, to the most sensitive microscopy. One of the main challenges was minimizing disturbance and vibrations from competing activities of constituent research groups. The Electron Microscopy Suite is a structurally separate bunker that docks against the south side of the main building and meets the most stringent criteria for vibration control, acoustics, thermal stability, and minimizing electromagnetic interference.

  • Client: University of Cambridge Estates Development
  • Architect and interior designer: NBBJ
  • Main contractor: Willmott Dixon
  • Structural engineer: Ramboll UK
  • Services consultant: Hoare Lea
  • Services sub- contractor: Mitie
  • Landscape architect: Robert Myers Associates
  • Project manager: Davis Langdon
  • CDM coordinator: Gardiner & Theobald
  • Cost consultant: Turner & Townsend
  • Vibration consultant: Colin Gordon
  • Planning authority: Cambridge City

Project Location