Abcam Headquarters, Cambridge Biomedical Campus Building, CBC Labs Photos

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus, UK

Discovery Drive HQ: laboratory & office facility design by NBBJ Architects, England

2 Mar 2019

Design: NBBJ Architects

Location: CBC, Hills Road, Cambridge, Southeast England, UK

Abcam moves into new NBBJ-designed global headquarters at Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridgeshire

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus building

Photos by Nick Guttridge

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Abcam, a global innovator in life science reagents and tools, has moved into its new state-of-the-art global headquarters, Discovery Drive, on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC), a leading hub of healthcare, science and medical research.

Designed by international architecture and design firm NBBJ, the 100,000 sq ft laboratory and office facility forms part of the second phase of CBC’s new global healthcare village, which is being jointly developed by Liberty Property Trust and Countryside Properties.

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus building

The new building is now home to over 450 Abcam staff, from all business functions – including R&D, laboratory, logistics, corporate and commercial departments.

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus building

To support the Company’s continued growth, the new building provides 75% more space, features fully flexible laboratory configurations, and has new instrumentation and technology for enhanced scientific capabilities. It has also been designed to support agile working and provide introvert and extrovert workspaces. In addition, Discovery Drive has been developed to meet global sustainability standards, enhance employee wellbeing and help protect natural resources in the environment.

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus building

Based on the interactive culture at Abcam, Discovery Drive’s interior design creates an open, connected, and collaborative workplace. NBBJ have achieved a flexible and efficient design by organising the building in two distinct volumes. This dual section can be seen from within the full-height atrium space connected by a central staircase. The feature stair links staggered floor plates of offices and laboratories, encouraging opportunities for ad-hoc social interaction between floors.

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus building

The building’s striking exterior features parametrically designed extended fins and brise soleil, giving it a distinct identity and marking a new gateway to the south west entrance into the wider campus. Expansive glazing allows views out to the surrounding countryside, while ‘putting science on show’ by making the work within visually accessible to the public.

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus building

A variety of hard and soft landscaping helps to situate the building within the campus, and outdoor amenity spaces with integral cycle storage are provided for employees. The campus’ natural biodiversity is enhanced through indigenous planting, bird boxes, and landscape rainwater management using bioswales.

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus building

David Lewis, Partner at NBBJ said: “We are very proud to provide Abcam with its new global headquarters, which will surely bear witness to many important scientific developments and breakthroughs. The design reflects the groundbreaking research and innovation taking place within the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. We have enjoyed working with such a pioneering client to develop the latest thinking in science and workplace design.”

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus building

Alan Hirzel, CEO, Abcam, commented: “Abcam has been working for 20 years providing biological reagents and tools to help our customers accelerate research, and develop diagnostics and therapeutics that could revolutionise healthcare outcomes. Moving to Discovery Drive is integral to our mission to best serve the global life science community.”

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus building

Andrew Blevins, managing director of Liberty Property Trust, said: “Abcam’s approach to innovation and collaboration makes it a perfect addition to the vibrant life sciences community at Cambridge Biomedical Campus, where breakthrough ideas can transition from the researcher’s bench to the patient’s bedside all on the same site. We are continuing to invest to ensure this unique mix of world-class academics, businesses and clinicians can grow and thrive, providing the bespoke facilities and jobs needed to make CBC and the UK life sciences sector a global leader in healthcare research.”

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus building

Cambridge Biomedical Campus, located two miles south of the city centre, is home to a unique combination of world-class biomedical research, patient care and education on a single site. The 2,300,000 sq ft phase 1 extension to the campus has already been allocated to allow expansion for Cambridge University Hospitals Trust, The University of Cambridge, the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, AstraZeneca and Royal Papworth Hospital.

Abcam HQ Cambridge Biomedical Campus building

Kier: Main Contractor
Ramboll: Structure
Hoare Lea: M&E (Stage 1-4)
KME: M&E (Stage 5)
Growth Industries: Landscape

Photos: Nick Guttridge

Discovery Drive, Abcam HQ at Cambridge Biomedical Campus images / information received 010319

NBBJ Architects

Previous post on the design for this building:

Abcam HQ at Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Location: Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, UK


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