Abcam moves into new NBBJ-designed global headquarters at Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Abcam, a global innovator in life science reagents and tools, has moved into its new state-of-the-art global headquarters, Discovery Drive, on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC), a leading hub of healthcare, science and medical research. 

Designed by international architecture and design firm NBBJ, the 100,000 sq ft laboratory and office facility forms part of the second phase of CBC’s new global healthcare village, which is being jointly developed by Liberty Property Trust and Countryside Properties.

The new building is now home to over 450 Abcam staff, from all business functions – including R&D, laboratory, logistics, corporate and commercial departments.

To support the Company’s continued growth, the new building provides 75% more space, features fully flexible laboratory configurations, and has new instrumentation and technology for enhanced scientific capabilities. It has also been designed to support agile working and provide introvert and extrovert workspaces. In addition, Discovery Drive has been developed to meet global sustainability standards, enhance employee wellbeing and help protect natural resources in the environment.

Based on the interactive culture at Abcam, Discovery Drive’s interior design creates an open, connected, and collaborative workplace. NBBJ have achieved a flexible and efficient design by organising the building in two distinct volumes. This dual section can be seen from within the full-height atrium space connected by a central staircase. The feature stair links staggered floor plates of offices and laboratories, encouraging opportunities for ad-hoc social interaction between floors.

The building’s striking exterior features parametrically designed extended fins and brise soleil, giving it a distinct identity and marking a new gateway to the south west entrance into the wider campus. Expansive glazing allows views out to the surrounding countryside, while ‘putting science on show’ by making the work within visually accessible to the public.

A variety of hard and soft landscaping helps to situate the building within the campus, and outdoor amenity spaces with integral cycle storage are provided for employees. The campus’ natural biodiversity is enhanced through indigenous planting, bird boxes, and landscape rainwater management using bioswales. 

David Lewis, Partner at NBBJ said:

“We are very proud to provide Abcam with its new global headquarters, which will surely bear witness to many important scientific developments and breakthroughs. The design reflects the groundbreaking research and innovation taking place within the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. We have enjoyed working with such a pioneering client to develop the latest thinking in science and workplace design.”

Alan Hirzel, CEO, Abcam, commented:

“Abcam has been working for 20 years providing biological reagents and tools to help our customers accelerate research, and develop diagnostics and therapeutics that could revolutionise healthcare outcomes. Moving to Discovery Drive is integral to our mission to best serve the global life science community.”

Andrew Blevins, managing director of Liberty Property Trust, said:

“Abcam’s approach to innovation and collaboration makes it a perfect addition to the vibrant life sciences community at Cambridge Biomedical Campus, where breakthrough ideas can transition from the researcher’s bench to the patient’s bedside all on the same site.  We are continuing to invest to ensure this unique mix of world-class academics, businesses and clinicians can grow and thrive, providing the bespoke facilities and jobs needed to make CBC and the UK life sciences sector a global leader in healthcare research.”

Cambridge Biomedical Campus, located two miles south of the city centre, is home to a unique combination of world-class biomedical research, patient care and education on a single site. The 2,300,000 sq ft phase 1 extension to the campus has already been allocated to allow expansion for Cambridge University Hospitals Trust, The University of Cambridge, the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, AstraZeneca and Royal Papworth Hospital.