Defra VLA Weybridge

Resulting from a Wilson Mason led rationalisation of the site, the project involved a phased implementation of replacing existing activities in new facilities. Careful master planning was required to maintain the continued operation of existing buildings.

The brief required the new buildings to cohesively resolve the fragmented nature of the existing site, and provide new opportunities for social and scientific interaction. A master plan was developed so that these objectives could operate both at site level and within individual buildings.

Two new bold site landscape axes were generated to focus the outlook from the buildings and to define circulation between them. The internal layouts consist of modular laboratory blocks set at right angles to each other and connected by an ‘interaction’ core with entrance, security, primary circulation, meeting, and refreshment functions in a ‘breakout’ area.

The accommodation is designed as an aggregate of modular units designed to be repeatable horizontally and vertically (two-storeys), with the facility for all first floor laboratories to attain ACDP Class 3 containment standards (in one building, SAPO Class 4 containment standard).

The need to provide a contained and secure first floor led to a two-storey plant room solution. Lower plant level is dedicated to Class 3 distribution and HEPA safe change filter areas. This allows all maintenance to be undertaken from outside the containment zones. The upper plant room storey houses the main air handling plant.