Stella Turk Building, University of Exeter

Penryn Campus

A high-profile investment, critical to building University of Exeter’s research power, which supports innovation, fosters business engagement and benefits the Cornish economy.

This new Science Engineering Research Support Facility (SERSF) building provides facilities for around 200 researchers and postgraduate students specialising in science and engineering.

The new facility accommodates many disciplines, including the newly established Business School, the Centre for Ecology and Conservation, Renewable Energy and Camborne School of Mines. It is also the new home for Law, Energy Policy and Mathematics.

The building includes a large proportion of office space as well as laboratory spaces designed and built to an ACDP Category 2 and five separate controlled environment rooms. Parameters such as temperature, humidity and light can be altered to create real-life environments.

A large glazed atrium forms the main entrance and the vertical circulation route to all floors. The installation of a key operated lift allows lab users to access the autoclave area on the lower ground floor which creates a link for users to transport any contaminated waste, safely through the building.

A new seminar facility provides space to facilitate linkage with external agency researchers in marine science and wildlife research.

A natural working environment

The building is naturally ventilated, wherever possible, to reduce the energy load. The laboratory spaces are mechanically vented to achieve the highest standard CL2 environment. Of the 5 temperature controlled rooms, 3 are APHA licenced- meaning air locks and extra security protocols were required.

The project achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.


We provided both Architectural and Landscape services and took a TA role on the client side. We were employed by the main contractor to produce the technical design whilst also being kept on to provide assistance during construction.

The project consists of three linked buildings. The first phase of the project had already been constructed, which made the construction of the next two phases more complex as we were connecting and linking floor levels.

The site was also riddled with existing services and diversions impacted the main vehicular route into the campus. These works were brought forward in an enabling package at a more convenient, less disruptive time for the university.