Tuesday, March 1, 2016

News: Factory 2050 up for architecture award

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Factory 2050, the revolutionary, glass-walled "reconfigurable factory" for the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, has been shortlisted for a prestigious architecture award.

Growing on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, the AMRC focuses on advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors. It is a partnership between industry and academia, which has become a model for research centres worldwide.

Designed by Bond Bryan, the £43m building is at the heart of the University's new advanced manufacturing campus on Sheffield Business Park, just over the Parkway. It is one of twelve new buildings to be shortlisted for a 2016 RIBA Yorkshire Award by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

In the summer of 2013, Bond Bryan won an opportunity to design a unique facility: a factory combining cutting edge manufacturing and assembly technologies with "big data" capabilities; a factory easily reconfigured to allow rapid switching in production between multiple high-value components and one-off parts for customers from a wide range of sectors.

A circular layout was proposed for an AMRC project in 2005, but not achievable at that time due to budget and programme constraints. Factory 2050 demonstrates the suitability of a circular arrangement for a re-configurable environment.

The circular form has fully glazed elevations enclosing a totally integrated manufacturing environment. At its heart is a core of open plan desk space and meeting rooms; visually linking this "workspace donut" with production.
The rotunda will house reconfigurable, data driven assembly technologies whilst its long, rectangular extension will accommodate any commercially sensitive or larger footprint projects.

Construction group, Interserve handed over the keys at the end of last year and initial projects include a programme to take aerospace manufacturing technology into the construction industry, explore future digital factory technologies for building commercial aeroplanes and investigate digitally assisted assembly technologies which could help to fill a looming skills gap in the aerospace sector.

Chair of the Yorkshire Judging Panel, Caroline Buckingham said: "The judges were impressed by the variety and excellence of the shortlisted projects and are looking forward to visiting them in person to select the winners."

The list also included another University of Sheffield engineering facility - The Diamond. Designed by Twelve Architects, the £81m state-of-the-art building in Sheffield city centre provides space for specialist engineering teaching facilities, a range of lecture theatres, seminar rooms, open-plan learning spaces, library services and social spaces, including a cafĂ©.

The shortlisted buildings will be visited by the judging panel in March, with the winners of an RIBA Yorkshire Award announced at a ceremony in April.

The jury will select one of the winners to receive the prestigious Building of the Year Award, sponsored by Marley Eternit, which last year was presented to Sheffield Cathedral. Other category awards include Project Architect of the Year, sponsored by Tarmac, The Sustainability Award, sponsored by SIKA, and The Small Project Award which is presented to the best building with a construction cost under £500,000.

Regional winners will also be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence. The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year will be drawn from the RIBA National Award-winning buildings.

The Magna Science and Adventure Centre in Rotherham won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2001 when Wilkinson Eyre architects transformed the redundant Templeborough steelworks into the UK's first science adventure centre.

AMRC website
Bond Bryan website

Images: Interserve / Bond Bryan

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