British Antarctic Survey
University of Cambridge
Natural Environment Research Council
The Aurora Centre aims to promote science studying the earth’s polar regions. We had two main tasks: to remodel temperature-controlled laboratories including an aquarium, and to improve non-laboratory areas. This included extending the conference room, providing a collaboration space and seminar rooms, and making the entrance lighter and more welcoming – all while avoiding too great an impact on existing facilities.
We decided to create a distinctive new extension for the conference, collaboration and meeting areas, as well as the reception. This provides a stunning new entrance to the building: hexagonal glass cladding panels reflect BAS’s unique work, their shape inspired by the molecular structure of ice. New super-insulated laboratories and experimental cold rooms allow
scientists to perform experiments at temperatures as low as -55°C, and we included several labs specified for Containment Level 2.
As expected for a climate research hub, the Aurora Centre is a highly sustainable building. Passive design ensured that spaces are well-lit with morning sunlight, and do not overheat in the summer.
“The team has translated our vision with great creativity into a unique, beautiful and user-friendly space.”– BEATRIX SCHLARB-RIDLEY, DIRECTOR OF INNOVATIONS AND IMPACT AT THE BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY