National Graphene Institute, University of Manchester Building, England Architecture

National Graphene Institute : University of Manchester

Research + Incubator Centre Building, England – design by Jestico + Whiles

A RIBA National Award Winner 2016 – 23 Jun 2016

31 Jan 2013

National Graphene Institute, Manchester

Design: Jestico + Whiles

Manchester, England

Jestico + Whiles wins planning approval for world-leading National Graphene Institute

National Graphene Institute Manchester
image from architect

Jestico + Whiles’ design for the new National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester has been granted planning consent. The new £61m facility will be a world-leading research and incubator centre dedicated to the development of graphene, helping the UK to remain at the forefront of the commercialisation of this revolutionary material.

As reported by the BBC, a recent surge of research into graphene reveals an intensifying global contest to lead a potential industrial revolution involving this material.* Latest figures from CambridgeIP show however that the UK, which pioneered research into graphene, may be falling behind rival countries in the development and commercialisation of the material.

Made from a single layer of carbon atoms, graphene has been recognised 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. Located at the University campus science quarter, the new National Graphene Institute 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. 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 Northwest and more widely in the UK.

Tony Ling, Director at Jestico + Whiles said “Jestico + Whiles is delighted to being working on this world-leading research centre and support the UK’s eminence in the development of this revolutionary material. The race to close the gap between research and industry, and capitalise on the value of graphene is highly competitive internationally, and the construction of the new National Graphene Institute will help position the UK at the forefront of these advances”.

The project builds on Jestico + Whiles’ laboratory design expertise, following the practice’s appointment to design the Australian Institute of Nanoscience in Sydney, beating a prestigious international field of research laboratory specialists in a competitive tender last year, and the completion of RIBA Award winning Mountbatten Nanotechnology Laboratory for the University of Southampton.

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.

National Graphene Institute images / information received from Jestico + Whiles

Jestico + Whiles

Location: University of Manchester, Manchester, Northwest England, UK

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