New Sainsbury Laboratory has been acclaimed as the World’s Best Learning Building 2011

15th Nov 2011

Designed by Stanton Williams architects, the 11,000 square metre plant science research centre set in the University’s Botanic Garden was selected by a panel of esteemed architects and designers, beating off competition from a shortlist of 17 entries.

From a British perspective these included Zaha Hadid’s Evelyn Grace Academy, winner of this year’s Stirling Prize, Norman Foster’s Masdar Institute in the United Arab Emirates and the City of Westminster College by Schmidt Hammer and Lessen.

Completed earlier this year and officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen in April, the Sainsbury Laboratory will eventually accommodate 120 world-leading scientists studying plant development and diversity in state-of-the art laboratory facilities.

The design reconciles complex scientific requirements with the need for a piece of architecture which responds to its landscape setting.

The jury commended the project, saying: “This project connects building and landscape in a poetic and meaningful way. It is beautifully considered in terms of its human scale, and for activities for research and learning. The choice of materials displays a profound tactile sense.”

Michael Bienias, Director of Estate Management for the University, said: “This marvellous and well-deserved award is testament to Stanton Williams’ design work, but also to the crucial and excellent collaborative work of the whole project team.”

The building was made possible with the award of an £82 million grant from the Gatsby Foundation. This is the largest single contribution received by the University since the launch of the 800th Anniversary Campaign.

Last month the Sainsbury Laboratory was highly commended in the Major Project category of the British Construction Industry Awards. It has been awarded a BREEAM “excellent” rating for its environmental performance.

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