Kier has completed the award-winning £20.5m First Light Pavilion at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre in Macclesfield. Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the scheme was delivered for The University of Manchester.

The project included building the first concrete dome to be constructed in UK for over 25 years, creating the largest concrete dome in the UK and the largest reinforced concrete dome in Europe.

The new pavilion offers new visitor facilities including an exhibition gallery that explains Jodrell Bank’s unique and inspiring history, an immersive projection space and auditorium, and a new education hub and café.

The grass-covered dome shaped building has a number of cutaways, including the Pavilion’s entrance built into a curved concrete wall designed to reflect the arc of the sun. Two separate walls that guide visitors in, with a single glass slot cut out at the centre, illuminate a meridian line cast onto the floor at the entrance, echoing a history of astronomy in architecture.

Sustainability has been at the forefront of this project including rainwater harvesting from the site cabins for boot and tool washing; re-using and recycling waste wherever possible; removing excess excavation material in the building works to reduce number of vehicle movements; ecology protection including tree protection, the installation of bird and bat boxes and use of scarecrows to keep nesting away from construction areas; and using a local supply of ethically sourced topsoil. Throughout the project Kier monitored and minimised the use of natural resources and carbon footprint reporting and off-setting.

The project has already won two North West Regional Construction Awards for Innovation on the project and winning the Sub-Regional Project of the Year Award (Cheshire, Wirral and Warrington).

Peter Gleave, operations manager at Kier Construction North & Scotland, said: “We are delighted to have handed over First Light Pavilion at Jodrell Bank to the University of Manchester. This unique project has been technically challenging, and its completion highlights the expertise of the project team working on it. We are pleased that we have also been able to deliver this project with sustainability in mind.”

Teresa Anderson, Director Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said: “This is another major milestone in our First Light Project which has been kindly supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and we are overjoyed to be able to see the construction of our stunning new building come to completion. Kier has done an incredible job realising the building’s ambitious design and we can’t wait to begin the next stage of exhibition planning and installation before finally welcoming visitors into the building next year.”

This latest project delivery for Kier reinforces its relationship with the University of Manchester following our recent successful completion of the hello future project at Manchester Museum with the construction of a new two storey extension to provide new gallery space and alterations facing Coupland Street and linking back to the existing Museum.

Beccy Lane 
Ryan Southern - drone