This mixed use Innovation Building has been designed to fulfil multiple briefs that will streamline distributions across the Old Road campus, provide a centralised car park for the estate to reduce traffic, and deliver new laboratory space and bio-escalator units for start-up research divisions.
As the campus is dedicated to innovative and specialist research, each building on site receives multiple deliveries each day. This, combined with the numerous ‘pocket’ car parks dotted around the site, creates an unfriendly environment for pedestrians. The new Innovation Building car park and distribution centre provides capacity for a centralised service to enhance safety and wellbeing across the campus and pave the way for a future ‘boulevard’ planned as part of the 2013 campus masterplan.
The two floors of bio-escalator units are the first of their kind for the university and deliver high-tech research facilities for start-up enterprises whose work will support and enhance the work already underway on the campus.
Despite its varied requirements, the building is unified by an external design inspired by the trees found around the site. Contrasol designed, manufactured and installed over three thousand Aluminium fins, some flat and some with over one hundred and thirty twists surround the car park, following an extensive design process involving full size mock up samples.
A digital script was used to define specific twists so that the overall facade imitates a view through the trees. This design catches the light and relates to other buildings on the campus, such as the Old Road Campus Research Building, which was also inspired by the leafy surroundings.
The bio-escalator element of the building uses the maple leaf as artwork on its elevations, this time with four different details of the leaf screen printed onto opaque back-painted unitised cladding. These designs connect and can be seen as a whole from a distance, but when viewed up close use the depth of the double-glazed units to cast.