The Quadram Institute aims to understand how food and microbes interact to promote health & prevent disease. Located at the heart of the Norwich Research Park, Quadram capitalises on the bioscience cluster at one of Europe’s largest single-site concentrations of research in food, health and environmental sciences.
Scientists and clinicians will work closely with major national and international funding bodies and charities, collaborators and investors to develop solutions to worldwide challenges in human health, food and disease that will benefit patients, consumers and wider society. The institute enables a step-change in food and health science research, providing new insights and accelerating innovation that will deliver new foods and treatments to maximise the positive impacts of food on health and reduce the economic and societal costs of chronic diseases.
Ramboll was appointed by NBBJ Architects to provide civil engineering, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, environmental and vibration consultancy services as part of an architect led design team.
Variety of spaces with different requirements
Involved in the project since feasibility, Ramboll helped define the brief with the project stakeholders and select the most suitable plot on the Norwich Research Park. Understanding the unique work that would take place at the Quadram Institute helped the design team create a building which fosters collaboration and world-class research. Developing a structure to meet the requirements of the different research groups and variety of uses of the building was challenging but essential to the success of this building.
The building provides distinct areas to each department, as well as the shared office space, meeting rooms and amenities fundamental to creating a truly translational facility. Within a hierarchy of spaces, the clinical research facility and patient treatment areas are more private to protect patients’ and participants’ confidentiality, whilst the research space is open to showcase the science within.
Creating ultra-low vibration for world-class research
The cutting-edge research space requires ultra-low vibration rooms for high-powered imaging equipment. The vibration requirements were developed by close interaction with the users and include the VC-D criterion for the most sensitive areas.
The structure of the building is an efficient yet simple solution to the briefing requirements, comprising reinforced concrete slabs, columns and walls to meet the vibration, loading and flexibility demands of the facility. In some areas the slabs are exposed to take advantage of the inherent thermal mass of the structure, reducing the energy required to heat and cool the building.
The foundation solution required extensive investigation to reduce the risk of ground cavities which are prevalent in the chalk close to the ground surface on the site. By gaining an understanding of this from an early stage, Ramboll was able to target ground investigations to define this risk and designed to mitigate it.
Professor Ian Charles, Director of the Quadram Institute, said:
There is a unique set of resources and expertise at the Norwich Research Park enabling the new Quadram Institute to be a world-leading innovation hub across our areas of interest, namely the gut, microbes, food and health. This is an exciting time to have the opportunity to be truly at the forefront of an emerging new discipline of health and food research. Recent understanding of how food and our gut flora interact is creating a fundamental shift in the way we will understand and address the impact of food on health. We will be engaged in fundamental and translational research, alongside clinical studies and endoscopy and our goal is to become recognised globally for research excellence and clinical expertise, and impact on patient care and outcomes.”