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EBI Technical Hub

Leading designer and manufacturer of partitioning systems Optima have made their mark on a new £20 million bioscience facility at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, by engineering a bespoke solution which met the architect’s ambitious design of seamless curved office pods.

Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Cambridge

Abell Nepp

Turner & Townsend Plc

Designed by architects Abell Nepp, the new three-storey bioscience Technical Hub has been built by main contractor Willmott Dixon for the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and features a training centre, office space for approximately 200 employees, and an industry led clinical translation suite for bioinformatics.

Willmott Dixon appointed Cambridge-based firm Barber Casanovas Ruffles as their architects.

Optima worked with contracting partner SCL Interiors, who carried out the installation, to create office spaces where acoustic performance, design aesthetics and the seamless integration of partitioning was paramount.

For a 6,500m2 building which is home to scientists unravelling the secrets of life, the complexity of the inspirational and imaginative design presented many engineering and installation challenges, with Optima designing a number of bespoke glazed partition solutions featuring minimal framework and glass to glass joints.

Optima’s Revolution mullion-free double glazed partitioning system was the natural choice for over 24 individual office and support pods. For maximum impact, a one piece bespoke curved version of the system was designed measuring 2.4m long by 2.6m high.

Due to the complexity and bespoke nature of the design, Optima created several mock-ups in their factory prior to installation on site. In addition, all framework was pre-formed off-site to a precise radius to meet the exacting design.

For the meeting rooms, studios and office fronts, Revolution mullion-free double glazing was also installed, with flush bonded doubled glazed doors set into Microflush aluminium door frames. Ingeniously designed, they feature minimal ironmongery to maintain an elegant and sleek look.

The virtually invisible patented NebulaTM dry joints used on all glass abutments and junctions perfectly complemented the doors, creating the impression of uninterrupted runs of glazing.

The Revolution double glazed screens have been designed to achieve market-leading acoustics of Rw48dB and feature an innovative extruded aluminium deflection head, developed by Optima. This allows a tolerance of +/-25mm as standard, ensuring the glazed panels do not suffer from stress in the event of any building movement.


With the installation now complete and the new bioscience facility representing a new chapter for genetic research, Optima’s partitioning systems have helped to create an effective and innovative working environment for life scientists.



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