Sheppard Robson completes technology firm’s Cambridgeshire HQ

The campus for TTP, designed by Sheppard Robson and its interior design group ID:SR, is shaped around non-hierarchical, collaborative working. It comprises three buildings: the Exchange, the Hive and the Tech Barn.

The largest, the Hive, is a single-storey structure that accommodates laboratories and workspace with the majority of flexible modular lab space open to the workspace. The building has been designed with a ‘plug and play’ approach, formed of a series of modular squares, with each component either open or closed laboratory, flexible workplace, or amenity space – allowing for future expansion.

Circulation space lines the full perimeter of the building and each module sits in a lattice grid of circulation. All but the enclosed lab modules are permeable with no hard edges while the stepped 15 x 15m grid aims to create ‘workplace neighbourhoods’.

The Exchange, by contrast, is a circular pavilion and provides space for TTP’s 400 staff to come together in its restaurant, gym, agile working and event and social space. Floor-to-ceiling glazing provides views of the surrounding landscape.

Source:David Ardill

The Tech Barn sits at the northern edge of the campus and contains facilities and equipment designed for large-scale projects or ones that require higher degrees of isolation. The spaces include a large double-height area and laser lab suite, advanced manufacturing area and advanced bio labs, along with a general project space.

Promoting biodiversity was also a key part of the project. As well as new wildflower meadows, the landscape incorporates 773 new trees, a 984m2 wildlife pond, and 950m of native hedgerow.

The scheme’s exposed concrete superstructure uses a concrete mix containing 50 per cent recycled blast-furnace slag. Secondary finishes have been removed as much as possible to minimise carbon waste.

To maximise flexibility and facilitate future evolution, all services for non-lab areas are located under the floor with a high-volume/low-velocity displacement system helping temper the environment. All technical laboratory spaces are serviced from above, removing long duct runs and minimising energy consumption.

On the roof of the Hive, 582 PVs produce 38 per cent of the scheme’s energy requirements.

TTP has been based in Melbourn, south-west of Cambridgeshire, for over 35 years, having previously been housed in the Melbourn Science Park neighbouring the site of the new campus. Car parking is located a couple of minutes’ walk south of the Hive and Exchange, to encourage staff and visitors to walk through the wild planted landscape.

Earlier this year, in March, Sheppard Robson revealed plans for a £250 million office and laboratory scheme to house about 75 life sciences and tech businesses on adjacent Melbourn Science Park. Its proposal, backed by Bruntwood SciTech, redevelops the park with over 36,000m² of office and lab space across nine buildings. Six of the buildings will be new, and the other three will be refurbished existing structures.

Source:Hufton + Crow

Architect’s view

It’s been fantastic to work on the project every step of the way. The design was underpinned by a year of briefing, which enabled us to understand the culture of TTP and the extraordinary work the freedom, openness, and expertise of the organisation produces. Quickly, we found commonality in a continual, problem-solving mindset and iterative, explorative approach. We wanted to do things differently – rethinking standard metrics – and enter an exploratory process free of preconceptions of what a lab/office should be.

This process resulted in all but the enclosed lab modules being permeable with no hard edges. Rather than create expanses of spaces, the stepped 15m x 15m grid creates the feeling of workplace neighbourhoods. The openness of the spaces allows different teams to work side by side in modules or in neighbouring labs, boosting the cross-pollination of ideas and promoting the free exchange of thinking. The permeability also allows clients to be welcomed into the heart of the business, with flexible client spaces such as collaboration labs, allowing visitors to experience the TTP culture firsthand.

From the outset, the brief called for the Hive to be a single-storey building – a demonstration of TTP’s ethos and how it envisages its buildings engaging with the rural village context. TTP has been part of the Melbourn community for over 35 years, having previously been located on the Melbourn Science Park, which neighboured the site of their new campus. The village is extremely important to TTP, so during the design process, a huge effort was made to engage, consult and communicate with the local community.
David Ardill, partner, Sheppard Robson


Client’s view

Our new campus enables our technically brilliant people to come together and work across projects and disciplines. The design has created spaces which enhance the way we work both together and alongside our clients, helping us to deliver from the very early stages of a project through to commercial production. We are delighted with the end result and our partnership with Sheppard Robson was fundamental in bringing the very best of our culture and capabilities into an environment which benefits them in so many ways.
Sam Hyde, managing director, TTP


Project data

Start on site May 2021
Completion date April 2023
Gross internal floor area 10,300m2
Form of contract or procurement route JCT design and build contract
Construction cost £51 million
Construction cost per m2 £4,951
Architect Sheppard Robson
Client The Technology Partnership (TTP)
Structural engineer AKT II
M&E consultant AECOM, CPW
Quantity surveyor Gleeds
Interior designer ID:SR Sheppard Robson
Planning consultant Savills UK
Landscape consultant Spacehub, CSA Environmental
Acoustic consultant Aecom
Project manager Bidwells
Principal designer ORSA
Approved building inspector 3C Shared Services
Main contractor SDC
CAD software used Revit

Environmental performance data

Percentage of floor area with daylight factor >2% Not supplied
Percentage of floor area with daylight factor >5% Not supplied
On-site energy generation 38% (from on-site PVs)
Annual mains water consumption Not supplied
Airtightness at 50Pa 1.42 m³/h.m2
Heating and hot water load Not supplied
Overall area-weighted U-value 0.34 W/m²K
Design life 60 years
Embodied / whole-life carbon Not supplied
Annual CO2 emissions Not supplied