National Infrastructure Laboratory, University of Southampton


Grimshaw Architects

Structural Engineer:
Buro Happold

Main Contractor:
Wates Construction Limited

University of Southampton

The £48 million National Infrastructure Laboratory (NIL) provides researchers and students with state-of-the-art equipment to facilitate world-leading research to improve the efficiency of existing infrastructure as well as develop more cost-effective ways of constructing new infrastructure. The NIL hosts over 100 academics and researchers in five major laboratories and three floors of offices.

A full-height atrium provides daylighting and passive natural ventilation, reducing energy demand and enhancing the wellbeing of the academic staff. The steel frame provides inherent flexibility of spaces for the lifetime of the structure and the project has achieved a BREEAM ‘ Excellent’ rating demonstrating its low impact design.

The Laboratory, which houses a 3m geotechnical centrifuge and large structures laboratory, is part of Boldrewood Innovation Campus, an internationally-recognised community delivering the highest standards of engineering excellence. The project uses different materials, each complementing the other. The steel elements providing open clear s pans and elegant feature staircases. The result is a well-engineered and engaging showcase for state-of-the-art research.

Judges’ comment