Marine Biological Association North Labs

Phase one of masterplan incorporates laboratories and innovative water source heat pump within Scheduled Monument

The Marine Biological Association sits on Citadel Hill in Plymouth. The Association conducts state of the art research into the causes and consequences of environmental change in the ocean. Burwell Architects' produced a masterplan which centres development of the campus in a manner which is sensitive to it's location within the site of a Scheduled Monument.

Phase One of the Plan consisted of a series of new Category 2 laboratories, incorporating both new build and refurbished elements known as the North Labs.

Part of the original development of site consisted of a series of below ground sea water reservoirs that were used to supply the aquarium. These are pumped directly to and from the sea and are used for the MBA’s research, supplying the seawater hall tanks, and thereby facilitating specialised experiments.

When reviewing sustainability options, it was identified that the potential of these water reservoirs could be harnessed to install a water source heat pump to provide heating and cooling to the new facility. Choosing this route resulted in an efficient, cost effective, low maintenance solution, while also reducing the MBA's carbon footprint, supporting the MBA’s ethos and research into ocean ecology. This innovative and site-specific approach avoided the more common air source heat pump solution, along with their associated refrigerants, and proved significant in achieving BREEAM Excellent.

Project Team

Client: Marine Biological Association

Architect: Burwell

Project and Cost Manager: Turner and Townsend

Civil and Structural Engineer: Clarkebond

Services Engineer and BREEAM Consultant: Method Consulting

Acoustic Consultant: Ion Acoustics

Project Data

Gross Internal Area: 1014 sqm

Construction: 2023