Page D1.1 . 24 October 2012   
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
< Prev Page Next Page >



Sainsbury Laboratory Stirling Prize

by David Owen

A stately temple of science has recently been added to the University of Cambridge campus. The limestone-clad Sainsbury Laboratory, a major plant science research center in Cambridge, England, has received the Stirling Prize for 2012 from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Rooted in Darwin's Garden

Designed by Stanton Williams, the Sainsbury Laboratory is an 11,000-square-meter (120,000-square-foot) BREEAM Excellent-rated facility set in the University of Cambridge Botanic Garden, a Grade-II listed historic place conceived by Charles Darwin's mentor, Professor John Henslow, for cataloging plant species.

Sensitive integration of the new building with this site was a crucial design goal. To hold down the building's height, the lowest of its three stories is entirely underground. With the site's gradual slope, the ground floor is also set partly below grade, creating a solid base to support the prominent top floor.

This distinction between floors also reflects the building's programmatic composition, with the laboratory spaces literally and metaphorically elevated, and wrapped in a limestone colonnade.

The building's plan is also designed to nest elegantly within the garden's circulation pattern. On the north side, the building's solid base gives way to glazing and pulls back from the floor above, forming a sheltered and transparent main entrance. This serves as the starting point for a path that leads through the building and out into the garden.   >>>

Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...



ArchWeek Image

Stanton Williams designed the Sainsbury Laboratory on the University of Cambridge campus, in Cambridge, England.
Photo: Hufton + Crow Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

The three-story Sainsbury Laboratory, clad in concrete, limestone, and glass, is the winner of the 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize.
Photo: Hufton + Crow Extra Large Image


Click on thumbnail images
to view full-size pictures.
< Prev Page Next Page > Send this to a friend       Subscribe       Free Newsletters       Media Kit       Privacy       Feedback       Twitter       Facebook
ARCHWEEK  |  GREAT BUILDINGS  |  ARCHIPLANET  |  DISCUSSION  |  BOOKS  |  BLOGS  |  SEARCH © 2012 Artifice, Inc. - All Rights Reserved