Queens Award

Case Study

University of Birmingham – Molecular Sciences Building

The Molecular Sciences Building, a flagship project for the University of Birmingham, empowers cutting-edge research in the fields of chemical, environmental, and bio-molecular sciences. It serves as a showcase for research and innovation and it will promote collaborative work for over 500 scientists and facilitate interaction between researchers, industry partners, and institutions.

The new building is a sustainable hub, designed by Associated Architects to offer the best possible laboratory spaces and maximize energy efficiency throughout. The facility achieved both EPC A (14) and is on track for BREEAM Excellent ratings, positioning the building in the top 10% of UK new non-domestic buildings for sustainability performance.

According to Joe Belcher, Senior Associate (Associated Architects), “The building features an open-air rooftop research space supported by a dedicated rooftop lab.  This will create a brand-new facility for the School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Studies (GEES) to advance their leading research into atmospheric chemistry and air pollution, using their sampling and monitoring instrumentation. Researchers are developing our understanding of natural and anthropogenic emissions and transformations of atmospheric constituents and the impacts of air pollution on the environment, and particularly upon human health.  Such collaborative academic innovation is bringing direct impact to meet the challenges of the day, informing discourse, policy and action in response, such as the West Midlands Air Quality Improvement Programme.”

The world-class research facility boasts 3,700 square metres of high-quality primary and specialist laboratory spaces, fostering innovation and discovery.

S+B UK played an integral role in the project, collaborating closely with Associated Architects from the early design stages. We provided expertise in lab furniture specification and budgeting, ensuring that the lab environments would meet the highest standards of quality and durability.

The Exemplaire C frame system, known for its robust construction, was chosen as the preferred furniture system. With push-under cabinets and Elevaire service carriers, the furniture offers flexibility for scientists across various disciplines. In addition, S+B UK manufactured and installed heavy-duty mobile balance benches and safety stations, further enhancing the utility of the lab spaces.

Morgan Sindall, the main contractor, completed this ground-breaking project at the start of October 2023. The Molecular Sciences Building marks the beginning of a new era of scientific discovery at the University of Birmingham. It will drive advancements in diverse fields, from materials for carbon dioxide capture to sustainable manufacturing of molecules and materials.

All photos are courtesy of Associated Architects. Further images of the building and interiors can be found on their website.

Client Testimonial

“We’re grateful to S+B for their input throughout the process. The depth of their experience and the quality of the product and installation has contributed to creating first class lab environments. We’ve appreciated their digital-savvy approach which has enabled us to fully integrate the specialist laboratory furniture design and fabrication into the BIM-enabled digital twin that informed coordination and construction and will now support the client’s ongoing intelligent Facilities Management processes. ”

Joe Belcher
Senior Associate
Associated Architects