UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


The Lab Hotel: Challenges and insights from designing and building a world-class lab at Oxford

01 April 2022, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Orange triangle, orange circle, over an black and white photo of the Oxford lab with the words Integrated Building Design, 1 April

What does it take to design a world-class research laboratory in the heart of the University of Oxford? Find out how colleagues from Hoare Lea, Hawkins\Brown and Laing O'Rourke utilised a range of key instruments to overcome the challenges they faced to deliver this integrated building design.

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UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering

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About the event

In an era where demands on building design is greater than ever, Shane Mellon, Alex Young and Paul Matthews will discuss the practical challenges faced by designers and contractors in the delivery of building projects. From early-stage design to delivery on site and in-use operation, they assembled key team members from a recently completed “Biochemistry Completion” project at University of Oxford. Our speakers will delve deep into the challenges faced from the perspective of the Architect, Building Services Engineer and Contractor, exploring the key instruments used by the project team to overcoming these challenges – providing candid insight into what worked well, less well, and the importance of understanding roles and responsibilities.

Case study – Biochemistry Completion/Phase II project:

Biochemistry Phase II is a world-class laboratory research facility in the heart of the Science area in the centre of Oxford. It comprises 13000m2 of research and support space with two levels of basement and central shared atrium with the adjacent Phase I building.

The building is designed to operate as a ‘lab hotel’ and accommodates a wide range of different University research groups. To provide this capability, adaptability and flexibility are at the heart of the design, being a core driver from early concept stage.

About the speakers

Shane Mellon – Hoare Lea
Shane was the lead mechanical engineer on the scheme. Shane joined HL as a graduate in 2009 and is a core member of the HL Science & Research team. He has worked on projects ranging from higher education and commercial science to deep-tech specialist laboratories and cleanroom facilities. Shane strives to better understand how we use buildings and develop designs in a way that centres around the user-experience, and how the building can work best for them and their day-to-day activities.

Alex Young – Associate – Hawkins\Brown Architects
Alex was the lead architect on the scheme. Alex joined the H\B team in 2016, and he has a wealth of experience in the design and delivery of buildings for education. He has designed buildings for primary, special needs and highly technical higher education facilities and has worked at all scales.

Paul Matthews – Project Technical Lead - Laing O’Rourke
Paul’s role was Technical Lead for the Contractor on the scheme. Having worked as a mechanical engineer for Arup previously, Paul has an excellent appreciation of the challenges faced by designers and contractors alike and is currently part of the leadership team delivering the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities at University of Oxford.