KJ Tait

University of Cambridge, Civil Engineering Building

University of Cambridge
Higher & Further Education/Science & Technology

The aim of this project was to create a world class building in West Cambridge, to house the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC), the National Research Facility for Infrastructure Cities and the Department of Civil Engineering’s Geotechnical and Structures research activities.


The new £18M Civil Engineering Building accommodates a mixture of research, testing, training and collaborative spaces for the UKCRIC requirement alongside the majority of the Civil Engineering Division.  A key facility within the building is the Large Structures Workshop which is a large 2-storey height column free space with access via large hangar-style doors.

A key feature of the Client Brief was to design a low energy building with the energy model at the heart of all design decisions.  The Client defined a means of assessing design solutions through the use of the Energy Cost Metric, a design tool which drives decisions towards pragmatic cost effective energy savings.


All heating and cooling to the building is from an innovative ground source heat pump (GSHP) system that exchanges heat within the building before exchanging with the ground, making it more energy efficient than typical GSHP systems. Much of the building is naturally ventilated with an automated system of dampers integrated within a consistent louvre band within the external envelope.