The Challenge:

This elegant new corporate headquarters had complex end-user requirements, bringing together a diverse workforce from Abcam’s three previous facilities in Cambridge and uniting them into one new state-of-the-art building. The new facility was required to house the group’s UK innovation and manufacturing capabilities, laboratories, logistics, sales, marketing and corporate functions.

Maintaining programme was a key driver throughout design and construction, with tenant Abcam needing to move in from early 2019, as they were vacating three buildings, whilst maintaining operations throughout their transition.

The Solution:

The completed headquarters supports a broad range of functions in a modern, collaborative environment befitting a global business, with flexibility, visibility and connectivity the essence of the building’s design. Open plan offices located around the perimeter of the building offer all employees equal access to daylight and views to the outside, with central cellular offices and meeting rooms. The exposed concrete soffit, with visible services, allows laboratories to be configured to suit users, whilst meeting biosafety level 1 (with a maximum of level 2).

The building’s key design feature is a stunning central staircase that links staggered office and laboratory floor plates, overcoming different floor-to-ceiling heights with three laboratory floors and four office floors within the same overall height (the different floor heights being dictated by services requirements in the laboratory floors). Construction excellence of this central visible piece was imperative to ensuring an effective building, capable of bringing distinct functions closer together to maximise opportunities for social interaction and cohesion. Either side of the stair, each floor has a large informal gathering zone to harness and capture collaborative opportunities between laboratory and administration staff.

The Impact:

Our collaborative approach was key to maintaining client satisfaction amidst a complex stakeholder landscape. The project was delivered on time and to budget, providing Abcam with a new headquarters that brings together science and back-office functions in order to ‘put science on show’ and foster greater collaboration across the business.

" Everyone has been overwhelmingly positive. Compared to our old, quite tired and cramped sites, we have a lot more space and much more flexibility! We cut the turf on June 1, 2017. From then, it was 18 months to getting the keys, which I think is pretty amazing. "
Nick Skinner Senior Vice President, Human Resources Abcam

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