University of Hertfordshire, The New Science Building Hatfield, UK

The 9,000m2 New Science Building occupies a prominent site at the heart of the University of Hertfordshire’s College Lane Campus, Hatfield. A major element of the university’s 2020 Vision, the building has been designed as a simple orthogonal structure that is derived from the cellular grid of the flexible laboratory spaces within.

Whilst optimised internally, the external envelope has been carefully finessed and tuned to signal the arrival of a major new facility at the university: a distinctive cladding system animates the building, whilst also helping the structure achieve BREEAM Excellent.

  • University of Hertfordshire
9,000 m2
  • Building Futures Awards - Highly commended
  • AJ Architecture Awards - Shortlisted


The New Science Building is a major project in a period of significant investment for the University. The building and the adjacent newly planned public realm are a statement of the educational institution’s ambitions.

Whilst the brief called for a marker of the campus’ progress, the building also had to provide state-of-the-art laboratory facilities in an efficient and carefully considered way.

This building form is derived from a cellular 3.3m planning grid based on back to back laboratory benching arrangements. This
provides adaptable laboratory spaces and the grid guides the design of the building and the carefully controlled spaces within.


Design Process

The exterior of the building is derived from the simple orthogonal laboratory grid, with elements cutaway to form the entrance and external terrace.

Louvres – made from expanded aluminium mesh – wrap around three elevations of the five-storey building and act as a veil, unifying the architectural form of the structure, whilst providing solar shading and a liveliness to the façades.

Design Process


The building does more than provide technically excellent and controlled spaces within a box. The architectural language has become a beacon for the University’s ambitions, with a finely tuned and bold response that does not compromise on efficiency.





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