Centre for the Physics of Medicine, University of Cambridge

November 2, 2011 Filed under: 2000s, Education by Sanna Fisher-Payne Comments Off

Placed 42nd in the Placebook vote of favourite buildings by BDP
BDP's recent portfolio includes a number of successful projects at the University of Cambridge. Architectural photographer Kilian O'Sullivan admires the Cambridge Centre for the Physics of Medicine

Welcome to the silicon fen, a hub of laboratories fed with talent directly from Cambridge University, conducting private and public funded research into all manor of mind-expanding things. Sited next to the world-famous Cavendish Laboratory, BDP’s is one of the most recent additions to the longish list of Laboratories conducting esteemed research on the periphery of Cambridge. Until relatively recently it would appear that it was de rigueur to build glum linear concrete buildings with slot like windows – the buildings doing their best to conceal the nature of the work being undertaken inside them. That is until now. Enter BDP’s addition; A curvaceous green roof, glass fronted full height along its most public side, an exotic brise soleil design (stainless steel!) creating a very striking look – is this form driven by function or is it style alone?.

Other than a nice roof terrace above the pod at the front door this Laboratory is ‘just’ a big serviced shed, made from balancing the requirements of economy and function. In plan it is a long corridor with interconnecting laboratories on the other side of the corridor’s wall, it could not be simpler. Stand on the street, look in at that corridor, see the white boards and wonder at the equations left on them – this is an exotic “shed’. Alternatively, look at my photograph!

Trained as an architect, Kilian O'Sullivan worked at BDP before turning full time to architectural photography.