Laing O’Rourke has reached a significant milestone in the construction of the £60m Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre in Manchester, with the building on course to open next year.
The contractor has held a topping out ceremony at the three-storey, 90,000 sq ft building on the University’s North Campus that will focus on research and production of graphene and two-dimensional materials.
The project is being funded by Abu Dhabi-based Masdar, the European Regional Development Fund, the GMCA, the Higher Education Funding Council, and Innovate UK. Masdar, a renewable energy company, provided £30m towards the project.
The building has been designed by architect Rafael Vinoly, and the professional team also includes CH2M as M&E consultant, Ramboll as consultant engineer, and Arcadis as project manager.
Subcontractors working with Laing O’Rourke on the build include Altrincham-based FK Group, which is providing the façade and cladding. Work started on site in Q3 2016.
Laing O’Rourke has also been named main contractor on the University’s £150m, 170,000 sq ft Henry Royce Institute, which will act as the UK’s national institute for materials science research and innovation.
Both schemes follow the construction of the neighbouring National Graphene Institute, which was completed by Bam in 2015.
Professor Luke Georghiou, deputy president and deputy vice-chancellor of the University, said: “We see the GEIC as a first step to realising a transformation of our wider surroundings.
“Manchester was known around the globe as Cottonopolis at the height of the Industrial Revolution, in this century our aim is to be Graphene City – a district where two-dimensional materials and complementary technologies drive jobs and growth.”
Sir Richard Leese, Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor and lead for business and economy added: “This centre will accelerate graphene’s transition from the laboratory to factories and business parks, creating jobs and driving economic growth.
“Manchester has an incredible record of innovation and is a leading centre for the development of advanced materials – graphene fits right in and is a key part of the next evolutionary phase in our history.”