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    Schlumberger Cambridge Research Centre


    Oil exploration research facility on a greenfield site outside Cambridge

    Location:Cambridge, United Kingdom
    Size:8,046 m²
    Awards:Civic Trust Award;
    RIBA Regional Award;
    RIBA National Award;
    Financial Times: Building of the Year Award;
    Structural Steel Design Award;
    Financial Times: Architecture Award.

    Our research centre for Schlumberger is designed to foster interaction between scientists within its laboratories, workshops and office areas.

    Rather than relegate the noisy drilling-rig test station to a less prominent location, this main 24m-wide workshop is placed at the heart of the building, overlooked on either side by acoustically-insulated laboratories facing inwards. These single storey wings are flanked by individual scientists’ rooms facing outwards over the Fens landscape.

    The reception and main social space, known as the wintergarden, is at the entrance. Both wintergarden and workshop are topped by a fabric structure of Teflon coated glass fibre, suspended on a network of cables by four suspension bridge-like structures. As well as creating a distinctive roof form, the height is necessary for the drilling operations, and gives the social area an airy, outside character while protecting it from the weather. A separate structural system is used for the single-storey accommodation, where external, lattice roof trusses are supported on tubular-steel columns.

    A network of circulation and informal meeting spaces weaves the key spaces together, encouraging vital serendipitous interaction between colleagues. Services are mostly accommodated below floor level.

    A decade after completion, the practice designed a second phase of the headquarters as part of a campus masterplan. This consists of a pair of office pavilions on either side of a boardwalk connecting back to the original building. The broadwalk is bridged by a top-lit atrium to form an entrance hall and reception for the whole Schlumberger complex.

    Schlumberger Cambridge Research Centre