University College London, Kathleen Lonsdale Building

The Kathleen Lonsdale Laboratory Building is a Grade II listed building constructed in 1915 as the first purpose-built Chemistry building for UCL. The building is to undergo a phased refurbishment, as part of the major projects being carried out as part of Transforming UCL.

A number of specialist laboratories have been provided with significantly upgraded facilities:

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics – Earth Sciences
A number of Microscopy labs and spaces
Geochronology – Earth Science
Geochemistry – Earth Science
Micropalaeontology Lab – Earth Science
Non-metal Lab – Earth Sciences
Multi-collector – Earth Sciences
Scanning Electron Microscope – Earth Sciences
BioGeo Chemical – Earth Sciences
GMP lab (Clean Room) – Chemistry (new lab)

To meet the needs of the different laboratories, Elementa engaged with stakeholders in the early stages in order to fully understand the client’s specific requirements for each lab space/type and ensure the best technical solution was provided – suitable for the client’s aspirations, whilst also offering a space that is flexible for future changes/growth.

The first challenge was to ensure the University Campus remained operational throughout the refurbishment, a larger challenge given the close proximity of each building. To combat this, Elementa delivered the project over 5 phases to ensure the least disruption to on-going lectures/student living.

To further the phase delivery, a zero defects strategy was applied throughout the duration of the project. This required high levels of communication between Elementa, the client and contractors to guarantee zero defects at each handover phase of the project. A focus on a robust commissioning review programme at the early stages of the project allowed this to be coordinated in the contractors programme for a succinct finish. Elementa were on hand for strict weekly site visits to ensure the defects strategy was on target for a smooth and efficient handover.

To achieve the aspirations of the University for a world class facility while working around the other live university buildings, Elementa proposed an accessible maintenance scheme set over the 5 phase delivery. This meant a strategic delivery of services had to be incorporated with core systems routed through circulation areas to ensure that stage works were complete in order to make the next phase of delivery possible and avoiding disruption to the previous stage.

Within the lab facilities, designs had to consider ultra-sensitive lab equipment, lighting, vibrations, noise and climate conditions. Significant modifications were proposed to improve access around the building, as well as improving environmental performance and space utilisation. The Earth Sciences department which has previously been split between different locations has benefited from the improvements as they are now fully accommodated in the new building.

The completed refurbishment offers new open plan offices, shared studio space called Hubs and a variety of break out spaces.

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