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HOK designs new lab space in Cambridge

The Merlin Place building will provide much-needed lab space in one of Europe’s largest R&D clusters and serve as a new “front door” for the Cambridge Science Park area.

Developer Kadans Science Partner has submitted a planning application for the seven-story, 140,000-sq.-ft. building, which will be adjacent to Cambridge Science Park and St. John’s Innovation Park. HOK is providing architecture, interior design, lab planning and sustainable design services.

The design creates a flexible platform for science that can accommodate a wide range of biotechnology, pharmaceutical, med-tech and digital health companies. The modular wet and dry labs, flexible structural grid, adaptable floor heights and robust infrastructure will enable the building to adapt easily to tenant needs and market conditions as they evolve.

“After extensive design work over 18 months and collaboration with the Cambridge City Council Planners, it is exciting to reach this important milestone in the program and take a step closer in delivering our best-in-class science-focused buildings,” said Edward Joslin, development director for Kadans Science Partner.

The plan places the building within a compressed and triangular island site. HOK’s design, drawing on the local context in its form and materials, creates a new landmark for people entering and leaving Cambridge. The “Cambridge cluster” area, which is anchored by the University of Cambridge, is home to more than 5,300 firms employing over 67,000 people.

The local Councils’ vision for North East Cambridge is to be a healthy, inclusive, walkable, low-carbon new city district. Merlin Place’s public gathering space, including a ground-level café, encourages tenants across the Cambridge North Cluster to converge and collaborate. The building will be a short walk from the Cambridge North train station.

The team is targeting at least BREEAM Excellent certification, with a goal to reduce its carbon footprint to zero over its entire life cycle.

“This will be a healthy, sustainable building where science and community come together to create a hub for innovation,” said Gary Clark, HOK’s leader of Science + Technology in London. “The golden triangle between Cambridge, Oxford and London is known for its ground-breaking research and development, and we are proud to contribute to the area’s rich history of scientific discovery through our design of the Merlin Place building.”


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