Main ContractorMorgan Sindall
ArchitectFairhusts Design Group
Structural EngineerCurtins Consulting


To build a science facility with outstanding green credentials without sacrificing aesthetics.

The Results

A striking project that blends into the greenery of its surroundings. The GSK Laboratory is an excellent addition to the Nottingham campus and has been recognised with awards for design and sustainability.

About The Building

As the first carbon neutral laboratory in the UK and one of the first laboratories to be designed to BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ standards - the GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory of Sustainable Chemistry, is a pioneering project in the true sense of the term.

The Brief

Built across 4,500m2 over two floors - the carbon neutral laboratory incorporates state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories, write up areas, school outreach space, academic offices, seminar rooms and a communal winter garden with a feature staircase. Main contractor Morgan Sindall, appointed B&K Structures to design, manufacture and install an engineered timber structure for the project.

Solution & Results

Composed of a braced glulam frame with CLT panels forming the floors, walls and roof, the 22m tall hybrid structure towers over the universities 65 acre campus. The structure traps almost 1,600 tonnes of carbon extracted from the atmosphere through the process of sequestration.

Four large prefabricated glulam and cross-laminated timber ‘horns’ were erected on the roof of the structure to provide natural ventilation to the building. Weighing approximately 11 tonnes each, the horns were assembled at ground level with M&E already installed before being lifted into place, thus reducing working at height.

To achieve the buildings challenging sustainability requirements, the amount of steel in the building was reduced by the use of traditional timber to timber connections. These connections used dowelled fixings with oak plugs to provide both an aesthetically pleasing finish and protection to the steel dowels in the event of a fire.

The laboratory is designed to minimise energy consumption during its operation. The energy required to run the laboratory will be met by renewable sources such as solar power and sustainable biofuel and when not in use, the building becomes ‘dormant’, using the minimum amount of energy and storing heat.

The build is set to achieve a 70% reduction in embodied carbon when compared to a comparative conventional new build.
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