Jestico + Whiles’ design for the new £61m National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester has recently been granted planning consent. The new facility will be designed with the goal to be the world-leading research and incubator center dedicated to the development of graphene, helping the UK to remain at the forefront of the commercialization of this revolutionary material. The project will be housed within a compact 7,600m2 five-storey building, with the main cleanroom located on the lower ground floor to achieve best vibration performance.More images and architects’ description after the break.
Made from a single layer of carbon atoms, graphene has been recognized as the thinnest material ever measured. Described as far stronger than diamond, more conductive than copper and as flexible as rubber, graphene is the world’s strongest and most conductive material – offering significant potential for a host of applications from IT to energy to medicine. Graphene was isolated in 2004 by University of Manchester Professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics, followed by knighthoods for their pioneering work on graphene. Scheduled to open in 2015, the new facility is being designed under the direction of Professor Novoselov.
The building will also include a second cleanroom, plus laser, optical, metrology and chemical laboratories, seminar room and offices and ancillary accommodation. The offices and labs are intermixed on all floors to allow individual research teams the facilities needed to operate coherently in one area. These teams are expected to include industry partners who will collaborate on research with the University. More than 150 businesses have already expressed interest in establishing operations at the institution, including some of the world’s leading electronics companies.
More than half the funding for the building (£38m) will be provided by the Government, following the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne’s recent announcement that the UK will be giving further funding for graphene research, bringing the total of UK government support to more than £60m. Additional funding is being sought from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The institute is expected to generate around 100 jobs initially, with a long-term expectation of thousands more in the North West and more widely in the UK.
Led by EC Harris through the OGC Framework, the design team also includes CH2M Hill providing specialist architectural laboratory design and M&E consultant services, and Ramboll providing Civil and Structural services.