Willie Russell Laboratories, University of St Andrews
In February 2019 the biomolecular science research building for the University of St Andrews suffered a major fire. Further damage was caused by the large quantities of water used to fight the fire rendering the entire building in a severely distressed and unusable condition. Although no one was injured in the fire, decades of research were lost, and future research and the valuable income provided put under severe risk due to the loss of a key facility.
The university moved very quickly to bring an emergency plan into action, relocating what research they could into teaching labs and any other available spaces. This still left a significant shortfall in both research and teaching lab space and key spaces to service these. The decision was quickly made to procure a modular building to enable the rapid re-provision of key facilities and minimise the disruption to teaching and research programmes whilst the main building is refurbished.
Oberlanders were appointed in March 2019 and undertook a detailed and intense briefing phase and design development, in close co-operation with the university stakeholders and modular building contractor. As a result, construction commenced in late May 2019 and the building was completed and handed over, defect free in Mid October 2019.
The Willie Russell Laboratories at the University of St Andrews were officially opened late last year by the Principal, Professor Sally Mapstone. The new facility has been named after molecular virologist Professor Willie Russell, who was instrumental in establishing the University’s virology unit which will continue within the new complex. This modular approach enabled the University to re-instate valuable research programmes and provided new bio-chemistry teaching labs for continuity in the teaching programme.
The building provides 2000sq.m of fully serviced research and teaching lab space, along with support space, PI offices, write up and break out space. The building was constructed as a turn key facility, fully fitted and furnished, with a construction cost of circa £7M.