The Sainsbury Wellcome Centre represents a partnership between the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Wellcome Trust to establish a new Research Centre in Neural Circuits and Behaviour. The neuroscientists working in the new facility are able to use state-of-the-art techniques in molecular and cellular biology, imaging, electrophysiology and behavioural, supported by computational modelling, to investigate how brain circuits’ process information to create neural representations and guide behaviour.
The 14,000m2 facility is located in Fitzrovia, London, and comprises five levels of above ground accommodation and two levels of basement. Arup has provided advice on all engineering disciplines and specialist consultancy for the project which commenced in Autumn 2009 and completed late 2015.
The building comprises four primary research floors, grouped as two duplex spaces. Each duplex floor has a number of atria to generate a series of double height laboratory spaces that emulate a ‘workshop’ style creative environment, providing flexibility, for example, the researchers can construct large experimental rigs.
As vibration performance was a key design issue, we undertook extensive analysis and research to determine the optimal structural solution for the facility. Through extensive research, an optimal solution proposed a combined base structural performance with the use of active isolation tables.
Minimising carbon emissions
To develop a truly low-carbon laboratory Arup has specified an innovative demand based ventilation control solution. An air sensing system determines the level of contaminants in the exhaust air. The system adjusts the supply air volumes accordingly, rather than the traditional fixed rate approach. This strategy provides opportunities to reduce air volumes and therefore minimise carbon emissions. This is the first new-build installation using demand control system in the UK.