16 August 2017
The North Range Buildings has been an enthralling project from the start. From discovering an Augustinian Friary during the enabling works to scientific breakthroughs in its history, the New Museum Site where the North Range Buildings are being constructed has more about it than meets the eye.
The £7.5m MEP project for Munro, will see the development of a new build flexible space, for use as an examination hall or seminar area, as well as part of the new centralised Student Services Centre. The refurbishment of the infamous Cavendish Laboratories, Rayleigh Wings and Art School will also be undertaken in parallel.
The historical context of these buildings has gathered notoriety and media attention over the years. With Cavendish Laboratory being the site where J. J. Thomson discovered the electron in 1897 and where Ernest Rutherford completed his research that would lead to the splitting of the Atom in 1917, the history of this building is one of the most notable and exciting places in the science world. In 2014, The Theory of Everything movie about physicist Professor Stephen Hawking was also shot within these walls, keeping the building’s history still very much alive.
During the early stages of the building project an archaeological dig was required where the excavator uncovered some exciting discoveries. Dating from as far back potentially as the 13th Century it was revealed the site was situated on the grounds of an Augustinian Friary. 25 skeletons, structures, architecture and tiles were just some of the relics dug up on site.
Centralising Student Services – Improving Student Access
One of the most notable additions that will be built on this site is the Student Services Centre. Previously, the student support organisations have been housed across the city in separate buildings. To centralise them into one highly visible, core location will improve the student experience tenfold. This is an important and considerate commitment to the institution’s students. With welfare issues, mental health, demands and pressures constantly on the rise in those studying at University it is important that students can access support easily and this new building will enable this.
To support student diversity, Munro have enhanced the design for disabled users, including numerous powered access doors across all areas. Retrofitting services of this nature will then enable free and easy movement, a right for all students of all abilities, marking an integral step in the University’s continued success. Furthermore, accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists has been improved including the construction of a 500+ cycle storage and park in the basement of the building.
The services installed on this project will help establish University of Cambridge even further as a sustainable institution, reaching new levels of efficiency in their estate. Whilst there will always be a focus around retaining and enhancing the heritage that these sites hold, new services paired with traditional elements will increase and nurture student’s welfare whilst paying homage to the great history of this prominent site.
For a more indepth breakdown of our M&E services, please read our North Range Buildings case study.