Next chapter for the Life Sciences building project
Press release issued: 31 January 2012
A major milestone has been reached in the progress of a new £54million state-of-the-art building at the heart of the University of Bristol’s precinct. The contract for the main construction work has been signed with VINCI Construction UK, which will act as the University’s main contractor for the new Life Sciences facility, transforming the corner of St Michaels Hill and Tyndall Avenue.
Work to create the iconic 13,500 square meter building, designed by architects Sheppard Robson, is set to begin in April. The main construction works are scheduled for completion by the end of 2013, enabling the building to be fully occupied at the beginning of 2014.
The site, which used to house the disused ward blocks of the Old Children’s Hospital, the 1960’s Focus Centre and two blocks of houses, has now been cleared and preparatory works are underway.
The listed frontage of the Old Children’s Hospital will be retained as part of the 21st Century learning and research facilities for the School of Biological Sciences.
Clustered around a central atrium will be teaching and research laboratories, seminar rooms, computer facilities, staff offices and a café. The building will be fully equipped to become one of the UK’s leading facilities for the advancement of Biological Sciences and a range of related disciplines.
In addition to completing the new building, VINCI Construction UK will also be responsible for public realm works and extensive landscaping which will link St Michaels Hill and Tyndall Avenue to Royal Fort House and its adjoining gardens.
Patrick Finch, Bursar at the University of Bristol, said: “After many years of planning and preparation, I am delighted that we have now reached the stage where a construction contract for the Bristol Life Sciences building has been signed.
“We have great confidence that VINCI Construction UK, working closely with our project managers and designers and the Estates Office Capital Projects team, will be able to deliver an outstanding result for the University. The regeneration of this key area of the precinct will help fulfil a long standing ambition in the University’s Estate Masterplan and the new public realm should be a delight for staff, students and visitors alike.”
It is hoped the central location and cutting-edge facilities will improve collaboration with departments across the University, including the next-door Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information [NSQI], other science departments and the Medical School.
Gary Foster, Professor of Molecular Plant Pathology, added: “This investment in Life Sciences is a major move by the University of Bristol in this field, showing strength and ambition, with Bristol being an exciting and ideal place to carry out research over the coming years.
“The new building will also provide outstanding laboratories for science teaching and will enhance the undergraduate experience by facilitating research-led study and staff-student interaction, making Bristol University the first choice for research and teaching.”
The Life Sciences building will be split into three zones, including a five-storey laboratory wing complete with acoustic chambers, spectroscopy and microscope rooms, clean rooms, a double height plant room and green houses for plant studies.
Andrew Ridley-Barker, Managing Director of VINCI Construction UK, added: “VINCI Construction UK is delighted to have been awarded this contract and we are looking forward to working closely with the University to ensure that they will be in receipt of a state-of-the-art facility in which to carry out this invaluable work.
“We have vast experience in building top quality educational establishments and take great pride in delivering both buildings and surroundings that will enhance the research and learning experience.”