Project in Detail
Nottingham Science Park
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Studio Egret West, London, United Kingdom
Nottingham Sciencepark Location Plan
AT A GLANCE
• A Business Park that breaks the Mould: Inclusive, Extrovert, and At One with Nature. A genuine Park not a Car Park.
• Outline Planning Permission granted for masterplan across the 12 acre site in 2006.
• Full Planning Permission for the first two buildings – No. 1 and Castle College Technology Centre – in 2007.
• Completion of first two buildings, wetland and lily pad boardwalk in June 2008.
A SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE SCIENCE PARK
Nottingham Science Park was established in the 1980’s by Nottingham City Council and provides premises for small companies in incubator space as well as more established companies, some within their own bespoke premises.
This development represents an extension to the existing park with a new agenda – It aims to be the first socially responsible Science Park in the East Midlands embodying sustainability at the heart of the development concept. We firmly believe that by creating a truly unique and naturalistic environment this will enhance wellbeing and creativity.
The key components of this approach include:
•Using sustainable materials and construction techniques
•Maximising the energy efficiency of the development
•Addressing the use of natural resources
•Reducing the use of cars
•Enhancing the biodiversity
•Creating a facility which is open and accessible to all
•Designing an environment that inspires and supports healthy living.
Nottingham Science Park is located to the south west of Nottingham City Centre
close to Nottingham University. The site is situated on University Boulevard one of the main arterial routes into the City. The Park enjoys a position within the city that sets it apart from the rest of the Nottingham city fabric. It is neither urban, suburban or rural and therefore has a unique character which will be enhanced and developed through the implementation of the master plan.
Surrounding land uses:
• North is the University Park and boating lake with its restaurant and art gallery.
• South is the Dunkirk Pond fishing lake and the Beeston Siding’s Nature Reserve.
• West is the Nottingham Tennis Centre.
• East is the existing Science Park.
THE DESIGN CONCEPT
There are many examples of science parks where the design of the buildings is purely driven by efficient office space planning, building economics and fire strategy. The space left over after the developable grid is determined by the car parking. This leaves issues of management and ownership and a limited pedestrian domain of any quality. Landscaping is generally suburban, predictable, low maintenance, season-free, unnatural.
The master plan for the Nottingham Science Park has been developed to be markedly different from the norm. It is inclusive and extrovert. It has been designed to embrace and feed its surroundings, from the tennis centre and boating lake to the University and existing Science Park. The opportunity has been taken to create a stimulating ‘open plan’ environment designed for use by people to enhance wellbeing and creativity.
The park has been designed as a naturalistic environment to reduce its impact and carbon footprint on the site. The habitat of the former Beeston railway sidings, abandoned over 40 years ago and now supporting over 550 species of flora and fauna has been extended through Nottingham Science Park with the creation of a linear, 3 acre wetland as the spine of the site. The master plan opens up an obvious desire line from University Park to Dunkirk Pond and Beeston Sidings. This is facilitated by the construction of a giant lily pad boardwalk through the heart of the site in a north south direction providing somewhere to work, learn, play, meet, lunch, daydream and romance. The boardwalk is also a pedestrian route to the buildings on the park as well as being a place to sit and enjoy the wetland area and its wildlife. A unique facility for employees, for the occupants and the local community alike.
The master plan provides for under croft parking across the site and is based around the idea that parking should not dominate the scheme. By raising the buildings up by one storey and locating the cars at grade level, the parking remains very close to the place of work, whilst remaining discreet. A big difference to the sea of surface parking normally associated with business parks!
THE FIRST TWO BUILDINGS
No 1 Nottingham Science Park sets the tone for the park and represents the basic building block of the masterplan: two paired wings of accommodation linked by a central hub building, the entry point, which also contains a range of shared social and working facilities. This is a flexible solution that will be repeated across the site with each building phase open to interpretation by a variety of occupiers and architects. The facades of No 1 are designed to emulate the reeds that have been planted in the central wetland landscape. The strong, bold colours are complimentary to the natural colours of the wetland landscape enriching the internal and external environments.
The second building is the Castle College Technology Centre, a local college for 14-18 year olds. The two wings of the building enable Toyota to train young adults on high technology car maintenance in one wing, while the college mirror this training with younger people in the other wing. The storage and maintenance of racing cars up to Formula One standard creates an attraction in itself. Work on the cars is carried out on the raised car deck so that the activities are visible from the public routes. The Castle College building uses the scale, materials and the elements set down by the master plan but reinterprets the layout to bring the central hub to the ‘lily pad’ public walkway. This is wrapped in an array of perforated panels which soften the form and lend it an organic, floral quality. In the spirit of the masterplan, it is a new species emerging from a common family.
Studio Egret West