The 'incubator' provides modern, highly adaptable laboratory and office space for life science start-up companies, together with education facilities including a lecture theatre for Queen Mary, University of London. The two worlds of education and commerce meet and inspire each other within the building.
At the same time the building plays a key role in the regeneration of Whitechapel, creating a sensitive transition from university campus to residential conservation area.
The shared ground and lower ground floor, connected by double height spaces allowing daylight deep into the building, accommodate meeting facilities, university offices, lecture theatre, breakout space and a public cafe.
Above a distinct brass clad volume contains the innovation centre. Its facade design is unique in that it utilises one material (deeply perforated sheets of brass) to provide shading and the first line of defence against all weathers - UV light, rain, wind and physical impact - while creating a contextual facade that relates to the historic surrounding. Simultaneously it creates a memorable, innovative image for the new centre and the University.
The use of brass ensures that its typical, characteristic ageing further enhances the appearance of the building over time. It will gradually mellow from golden-red to darker shades of red and brown. The depth of the material and deep frames around each panel create rich shadow play and colour variations. The deep perforation enhances the stiffness of the sheets allowing for less material to be used.
Combined with a wall construction of prefabricated cross laminated timber panels, excellent shading performance and very high recycled copper content, the brass sheets offer a highly sustainable cladding solution.
Project Manager - Miller Construction Services
Structural Engineer - AKT
M & E Engineer - NDY
Main Contractor - Walter Lilly
Cladding Specialist - James & Taylor
Cladding Installer - EAG
Solid Timber Panels - Eurbanf