Marine Microbiome Centre of Excellence, Plymouth

This upgrade of the Marine Biological Association campus will pave the way for new discoveries about ocean health.

Located within the historic environs of the Royal Citadel in Plymouth, a scheduled ancient monument, the existing home of the Marine Biological Association is a fine historic stone building in its own right. It was built specifically for the MBA in 1888, their original and current home. Their academic and scientific research covers a range of disciplines, including marine cell biology, ecology, animal behaviour and ecosystem change.

Burwell Architects were awarded this project through a competitive architectural design competition in 2018. We have since evolved the proposals and have submitted a planning application, which was consented 2021. The brief was to create a new main entrance and Education Centre, which we have position to the west of the building, accessed from a small courtyard. This links through to a new laboratory block to the east, while further research laboratories are sandwiched to the north adjacent to the Royal Citadel. The new interventions are formed by a Corten steel trabeated structure that sits above an ashlar Plymouth Limestone base. Deep reveals emphasise the structural grid articulating the facade and provide a level solar control to the south facing elevation. Phase 1, the extension of the North Labs, started construction in Autumn 2021.

Project Team

Client: Marine Biological Association

Lead Architect: Burwell Architects

Contractor: Nevada Construction

Services Engineer: Method

Structural Engineer: Clarke Bond

QS & Project Manager: Turner & Townsend

Project Data

Construction: 2021-25

GIA: Phase - 1,160 sqm, Phase 2 - 1,411 sqm, Phase 3 – 2,269 sqm Total GIA: 4,840 sqm

Form of Contract: Design & Build