CEH Research Laboratory

Wallingford, UK

CEH Research Laboratory

The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology is a world-leading research organisation focused on land and freshwater ecosystems and their interaction with the atmosphere. The Centre’s wide-ranging research extends from the smallest scale of genetic diversity to large-scale whole-earth systems, and often involves working in partnership with organisations from the academic, public, private and voluntary sectors.

The diversity of the Centre’s research activity presented a number of interesting challenges when designing a new laboratory for their Wallingford campus, with activities ranging from soil processing through to laboratories for molecular biology. The project brief also required a new building that minimises its impact on the environment.

The new laboratory building with its simple rectangular plan and a layout driven by workflow, accommodates the dirty activities on the ground floor and the analytical activities requiring a much cleaner environment on the first floor. The building orientation minimises glare from the low sun, and external solar shading on the south-facing elevation limits solar gains. Generously proportioned seminar and meeting spaces at the western end of the building enjoy an elevated view across meadow to the River Thames beyond.

The project was one of the first laboratories in the UK to receive a BREEAM environmental rating of ‘excellent’ and, following its construction, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology continues to work actively to minimise the environmental impact of their operations across all of their UK sites.

“The new laboratory building for the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology provides excellent research spaces for our scientists and sits very comfortably in its setting. Crisp, simple and functional with flexibility for the future – a remarkable achievement.”

Nigel Parfitt
Senior Project Manager, Natural Environment Research Council

Project Details

Client Natural Environment Research Council
Area 3,400m2
Completion 2010
Sustainability Rating BREEAM Excellent
Project Manager Turner & Townsend
Structural Engineer SKM Anthony Hunt
Environmental Engineer Gifford
Landscape Architect Jamie Buchanan
Cost Management Turner & Townsend
Led by Paul as a director of rhp