The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

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100 Buildings 100 Years

1984: Schlumberger Research Centre, Cambridge

Type: Commercial/offices
Architect: Michael Hopkins and Partners
Location: Cambridge

The Schlumberger Research Centre is a stunning high-tech marquee designed by Michael Hopkins and Partners as a research facility for the engineering firm Schlumberger. It consists of two glass buildings housing offices and laboratories linked by a tented structure, which incorporates both a winter garden as social space, and test rigs for the evaluation of drilling techniques and materials. Structurally innovative, it represents the first use in the UK of Teflon-coated glass fibre for building construction.

It is located on high ground outside the city in an area occupied by research facilities, the space around it allowing for expansion and providing a buffer for noise and the potential risk of explosion. As a result, tethered in its field close to the M11, it quickly became an iconic landmark – both to me and to others returning to Cambridge – especially at night, when it seems to float with an ethereal glow.

by Clare Price

Building of the Month entry


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