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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Think Tank, Lincoln, United Kingdom

London Eye architects bring colour and business stimulation to Lincoln

London Eye architects, Marks Barfield, have completed an iridescent innovation centre in Lincoln. Client Lincoln City Council wanted to develop the site, located within easy walking distance of the university and the City Centre, into a flagship development to stimulate high value, science based employment use.

The 3,230 sq metre building, named the ‘Think Tank’, was completed in 14 months at a total cost of £7.1m, and provides standard and production workspace, conferencing rooms and networking facilities under one ‘innovative environment’ roof.

The iridescent cladding which changes colour depending on the incidence of light, and used here for the first time in the UK, mimics the optical phenomenon found in nature, such as on butterfly wings, sea shells, and flowers. Julia Barfield comments: “Like flowers that use iridescence to attract pollinating bees, we wanted the building to reflect its aim of attracting innovative business and new talent.”

The Think Tank is built close to where the first ever tanks were tested during the First World War and is designed as a model of sustainable design using a combination of active and passive measures to deliver the best performance and result for least cost over the long term.

The building is highly insulated, with exposed concrete soffits used in conjunction with night ventilation to provide passive and radiant cooling. Heating is provided by a ground source heat pump system feeding underfloor heating circuits which provides 70% of the building’s heat energy. The roof lights are designed so that photovoltaic panels can be placed at their optimum angle of 30° from the horizon and facing south.

The 9 production workspace units on the ground floor and 21 office units on the first floor face north to provide daylight without solar gain, creating a saw-tooth façade. The biodiverse roof has been planted to resemble a Lincolnshire meadow.

A hub area has been created to provide an attractive shared space where tenants could get together and exchange ideas. Networking of companies, students, university faculties and business support agencies is encouraged through a proactive on site mentoring/ management team. There are shared facilities for new graduate SME’s, and a first class ICT infrastructure to stimulate e-business and increase product and process innovation.

Lincoln Think Tank will open its doors to new businesses and tenants on 6th April 2009.
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