taylor maxwell
Back to news

western general hosptial

April 2016

A great building makes a statement. So when the University of Edinburgh expanded its world-class research institute the design team selected the best possible facing bricks...

Stemming from the very earliest UK led research into radiation and human genetics in the mid-1950s, the institutes based at the Western General Hospital have been at the very forefront of their field, pioneering work that leads the way in Cancer research, Human Genetic research & Clinical and Genomics research today.

The brand new building for the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) at the University of Edinburgh Western General Hospital site provides a tangible and significant link between the 3 institutes of the IGMM; the MRC Human Genetics Unit (MRC HGU), the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine (CGEM) and the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre (ECRC). The £10m five-storey research laboratory provides additional computational research space, a 180-seat lecture theatre, seminar rooms, a cafe and break-out areas built around a large atrium.

The 2,700m2 extension will undoubtedly enhance communication and interaction between each research facility, maximising potential scientific discoveries and will reflect its place at the forefront of the genetics revolution.

Oberlanders Architects LLP, the architects behind the project, agreed with local planners to use a non-standard brick sympathetic to surrounding buildings. They turned to Taylor Maxwell - who they had worked with successfully before - to look at the options.

Project Architect Rob Bunworth explained:

“Taylor Maxwell were briefed to suggest suitable dark grey or black stock brick types to suggest a very crisp brick appearance. They provided brick system information to help us make an informed decision about the best brick for appearance, buildability and budgetary considerations.

“A variety of potential brick types were reviewed, and cost comparisons helped us to select the right facing brick for this project. Having made the brick choice early on in the design process allowed Oberlanders to carefully consider mortar pigmentation and detail interfaces to other cladding materials.”

“The brick facades are conceived as ‘book ends’ and lend weight to the building composition, giving a formal and urban character to the building”.

Click here to view the full case study...