A desire to limit the building's environmental impact led to number of key decisions affecting the design of the new Plant Growth Facility at the University of Cambridge in England. Among them was to top the $11.4 million project with a long-lasting, maintenance-free stainless steel roof.
The building is located on the grounds of the University's Botanic Garden and was designed by RH Partnership, England. The state-of-the-art research center features two larges halls, each housing a series of growing chambers, that will allow students and scientists from the Department of Plant Science to study how the genetic makeup of the plants can affect their development, growth and resistance to disease.
Recyclability was a key consideration in the decision to top the building with a curved metal roof system. Chosen for the job was a Kalzip 65/400 panel system from Corus Building Systems. The 9,000 sq. ft. of panels needed to complete the project were installed by WWR (UK) Ltd., an approved Teamkal member. Apart from its environmental benefits, the curved metal roof also made an important contribution to the building's aesthetics by helping to reduce its apparent size. It added too to the structure's visual compatibility with the surrounding gardens.
Used in conjunction with the metal roofing on the building's exterior envelope was a cedar rainscreen cladding system. Installed at the endwalls and between arched laminated timber beams along the sidewalls, the cedar panels were sourced from sustainably harvested timber.
Recycled products were used for both the building's foundation--concrete featuring a blast furnace slag additive--and a 7'-high retaining wall that screens the chillers. It was created using old car tires.