Building’s ‘out of this world’ features unveiled at milestone event

A significant milestone in the construction of a £30million Nottingham bioscience building is to be marked this week (Friday 29 April).

Innovative designs for a unique solar installation to feature on the building will also be unveiled.

Developers, contractors and council leaders will gather to celebrate the final concrete being poured to create the state-of-the-art bioscience ‘incubator’ building overlooking Parliament Street, which forms an expansion of the highly successful BioCity, Nottingham complex. The five-storey building will support more than 700 new bioscience roles in the city over the next 30 years and cement Nottingham’s position as the UK’s fastest growing life sciences community.

An integral feature of the building design is a sunscreen, known as a Brise Soleil, which reduces the risk of the building overheating. It will also help make the building more energy efficient by minimising the need for air conditioning. Innovative designs for the Brise Soleil are to be revealed at Friday’s event by acclaimed local artist Wolfgang Buttress, in partnership with physicist Dr Martin Bencsik of Nottingham Trent University. The installation, known as Corona, will link the building with solar flares measured by NASA satellites, feeding signals to an integrated lighting system – providing a stunning entrance to the eastside of the city.

The sculpture forms a curtain of aluminium tubes 17 metres high across the front of the building, embedded with fibre-optic lights which respond to signals from NASA satellites.

The bioscience building expansion is being delivered by a number of local partners under the Scape framework. The site was bought, cleared and decontaminated by Nottingham City Council and the project has been funded by the City Council and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership. Other partners are contractor Willmott Dixon, Nottingham architects CPMG, Notts-based consulting engineers Morgan Tucker, construction consultancy Gleeds, multi-disciplinary practitioner Pick Everard and electrical engineers Couch Perry Wilkes.

The facility will be operated by BioCity on behalf of the council when completed in spring 2017.

Sygnature Discovery, the UK’s largest independent provider of integrated drug discovery resource and expertise, have been based in BioCity since they were founded in 2004. Over 80% of their current employees have PhDs, and at least a quarter are linked to the city’s two universities. Moving to the new site will enable them to create 50 specialist new jobs, and means they don’t have to look outside the city to continue their expansion.

Councillor Jon Collins, Leader for Nottingham City Council and Portfolio Holder for Strategic Regeneration, said: “This building recognises the importance of bioscience to our local economy and, just as the first BioCity building has done so successfully, it will provide fledgling companies and the next generation of entrepreneurs the chance to grow and expand by making use of a range of high-tech chemistry and biology laboratories.

“The new building has already allowed us to keep home-grown talent here in Nottingham and it is expected to help create 700 more specialist bioscience roles in Nottingham over the next 30 years.
“It is fitting that a building housing cutting edge research has a cutting edge exterior, and I am very pleased that acclaimed local artist, Wolfgang Buttress, has created such an inventive Brise Soleil design which will help to showcase our city as the UK’s fastest growing life sciences community.”

Nick Heath, operations director at Willmott Dixon in the East Midlands, said: “This is an exciting project for Willmott Dixon and we are extremely pleased to be involved in such an iconic development which will raise the benchmark for future development in the city.

“Not only is this an exciting building which will enhance the city’s landscape, but it has been a training ground for retaining a number of apprentices and graduate trainees who have learned so much from the development of this site. The biosciences building will not only help future business, but it has already supported in the skills and training of our construction workers of tomorrow.”

Dr Glenn Crocker, CEO, BioCity, said: “This is a significant moment, not just for BioCity and the companies based here, but for Nottingham. BioCity is extending its reach across the UK but it is particularly satisfying that we are still growing here in Nottingham, where the BioCity story began.

“The new building enables Sygnature Discovery to continue its impressive growth and, as the team moves across to the new building in 2017, they will free up space for the next generation of companies, inspired by the success of the growing businesses surrounding them here at BioCity, Nottingham.”

Wolfgang Buttress said: “I am very happy to be working again with Dr Martin Bencsik of Nottingham Trent University, investigating the links between art and science and expressing these through this pivotal building here in our adopted home town.”

Sygnature Discovery’s Chief Operating Officer Dr Jonathan Williams said: “Sygnature are delighted to be part of this exciting addition to the city’s landscape. The new building will allow Sygnature to continue to grow in Nottingham, create high quality science jobs and enhance its capability to discover new medicines.

“The addition of the Corona to an already impressive building will create a real landmark – a testament to Nottingham City Council’s commitment to attracting and retaining a vibrant life-sciences community in the city.”

Peter Richardson, Chairman of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Excellent progress has been made on the new BioCity, Nottingham site and, once it is complete next year, the innovative ‘Brise Soleil’ sunscreen will really make the facility stand out.
“Equally this major project, aided by a £6.5m grant from the D2N2 LEP, will make our area stand out as a UK leader in growing the life sciences sector.”

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