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Capella Biomedical Research Laboratory, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Construction of a new laboratory building known as Project Capella was initiated at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in February 2016.

Project Type

Biomedical research laboratory


Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Construction Started

February 2016

Estimated Investment

£79m ($112.48m)


Laboratory building at Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Construction of a new laboratory building known as Project Capella was initiated at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in February 2016.

Located next to the Cancer Research UK building near Addenbrookes hospital, the new facility will allow collaborations between scientists and clinicians to further advance the application of stem cell discoveries into the patient setting.

The University of Cambridge was granted planning permission for the Capella building in February 2016. The project is expected to be completed with an estimated investment of £79m ($112.48m) by Q2, 2018.

Capella biomedical research facility design and features

The Capella research facility will be a six-story building with a total floor space of 18,000m². The exterior will feature a two-storey glazed box with gold metal detail and double-height entrance foyer. The spine of the building will be clad with flat-faced graphite panels.

The building will include a green screen to enhance the public area surrounding the development. It also will feature a bespoke timber frame structure with green roof, which will provide 324 cycle spaces on site.

Facilities at Capella biomedical research laboratory

The facility will include sophisticated laboratory spaces, offices, cafés, seminar rooms, exhibition spaces, and meeting suites to accommodate a variety of biomedical research groups.

It will also accommodate the Cambridge Institute for Immunotherapeutics and Infectious Disease, the Milner Therapeutics Institute, and Cambridge Stem Cell Institute. It aims to advance a centre of excellence and initiate a foundation for the development of new medical treatments.

The facility will also include robotics suites for customised drug screening and gene editing, as well as bioinformatics support.


Construction of the Capella biomedical laboratory began in February 2016. The facility is being constructed using building information modelling (BIM) techniques. More than 80% of the frame and façade was built off-site as precast modules comprise precast columns, edge beams, and precast floor slabs with structural toppings. The topping out ceremony was held in April 2017.

Installation of mechanical services inside the building commenced after installing 6m pre-fabricated modules on the ground floor and fan coil units from ground to third floor in January 2017.

Installation of all external cladding panels and gold box glazing was completed in March 2107.

Contractors involved with Capella biomedical research laboratory

The designs for the Capella biomedical research laboratory were provided by Fairhurst Design Group (FDG).

The building construction contract was awarded to Kier Construction, which is being assisted by a team of consultants including Arup (consulting engineer), Arcadis (project manager), and Aecom (cost consultant).

PCE was selected as offsite superstructure construction partner, which provides hybrid precast columns with a combination of precast concrete edge beams and structural steel delta beam spine beams.

Alcrete Building Systems was appointed by PCE to provide design, manufacture, deliver, and install more than 100 precast units.


The building is being constructed with the aim of achieving Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) excellent rating.

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