KJ Tait

University of Cambridge, The Maxwell Centre, Department of Physics

University of Cambridge
Higher & Further Education/Science & Technology

The Maxwell Centre is an expansion of the University of Cambridge’s world class Cavendish Laboratory and advances the scale of industrial engagement.


The centerpiece building for exploratory ‘blue skies’ research and industrial partnership in the physical sciences on the West Cambridge Campus utilises an innovative layered laboratory design, ensuring services to individual laboratories can be changed without affecting the others. The target is to double the scale of industrial involvement through a combination of activities in the new building, in the collaborating departments and commercial space.


Scientists from industry will occupy laboratory and desk space alongside the Cambridge research groups to promote a two-way flow of ideas and expose the best early career researchers to scientific problem-solving that relates directly to industrial need.

The building is named after physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who discovered electromagnetism and founded statistical mechanics, and was the first Professor of Experimental Physics at Cambridge in 1871.


KJ Tait provided a detailed design service on the project, which was handed over on time and budget and achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating. To achieve the environmental criteria within the laboratories, a solution using evaporative adiabatic air handling units was implemented, which greatly reduces the cooling energy demand over traditional chiller based systems. We developed a low complexity natural ventilation system to the office floors.