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A ground breaking ceremony attended by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope marks the start of building work on the new £300m state-of-the-art Cavendish laboratory on the West Cambridge site, off Madingley Road.
 
The new building will be named the Ray Dolby Centre, in recognition of a £75 million gift from the estate of sound pioneer Ray Dolby. It will provide a purpose-built centre for world-leading physics research, bringing together all of the Department of Physics’ research groups under one roof. This will help strengthen the University’s position as a leading site for physics research and will provide a top-class facility for the nation, with much of the research equipment made available to other institutions. The building will host public events to support the extensive programme of work with schools, and the general public.
 
With a GIA (Gross internal area) of around 33,000 sqm, the new building will house a range of laboratories, offices, clean rooms, workshops and multiple lecture theatres. The basement area will incorporate specialist acoustic and vibration treatments to achieve the stringent control criteria necessary for operating equipment highly sensitive to vibration. There are also challenging criteria to be met in relation to temperature and humidity control and EMI (electromagnetic interference) protection. Beyond the technical aspects, the building has integrated sustainability into the design, targeting BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) Excellent rating and using sustainable drainage techniques to manage water on site.
 
The ground breaking event which was hosted by Bouygues, who are the building the new laboratory, was also attended by the Chair of Bouygues UK, Fabienne Viala, RIBA Vice-president Caroline Buckingham, guests from the University, the contractor team and the local community.
 
Prof Andy Parker, Head of Department of Physics said “This is a great step in the development of physics research and learning at the University of Cambridge. We look forward to moving in to our new facilities and opening our doors to the wider research community and the public to increase understanding and foster discovery.”
 
Fabienne Viala, Chairman of Bouygues UK and UK Country Manager for Bouygues Construction, said: “Bouygues UK and our sister company Bouygues Energies & Services have been involved from the start on this exciting scheme, working alongside the University of Cambridge’s existing project team to develop proposals for a new world-class laboratory. It is exciting to break ground on this project that will see us bringing innovation, a collaborative approach and our technical expertise to create a new home for major academic research.”
 
In addition to the gift from the Dolby family, the new Cavendish Laboratory is made possible by £75 million of funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The new facility is expected to be completed in 2022.
 
Images courtesy of Jestico + Whiles
 
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