Original features

September 17, 2009

The University of Edinburgh's Waddington Building, which officially opened last week to house its Centre for Systems Biology, offers a flexible environment for experimental and theoretical researchers.

Designed to encourage interaction between disciplines, it incorporates an open area running the length of the building, with "wet" (laboratory) spaces on one side and "dry" (office) spaces on the other.

Its simple three-storey grid fenestration gives the Waddington Building a scale and a presence that take full advantage of its attractive location.

Social and meeting rooms are located on the ground floor to provide access to an intimate garden area, while the upper floors offer dramatic views over much of the city.

The new facility is also connected to the adjacent Daniel Rutherford Building, which has been recently redeveloped, by an enclosed link on two levels.

This incorporates spaces to encourage researchers to linger, as well as two "play spaces" where soft seating and chalkboards aim to encourage the impromptu exchange of ideas.

Floor-to-ceiling windows maximise the use of natural light, which is supported by lighting-control software to limit energy use.

Send suggestions for this architectural series to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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