The Milner Centre for Evolution, University of Bath

University of Bath
  • Shortlisted

    Design Through Innovation

    RICS South West 2019

Scientists need many things – natural light, space to socialise and good coffee are possibly the most important.

The Milner Centre for Evolution is a cross-faculty research centre bridging biology, health and education.

The evolutionary clues start outside with a patterned façade replicating a series of colour-coded gene sequences showing our evolution from fish to humans. The rest of the building pays homage to the city of Bath with golden Cotswold rubble stone and Georgian height windows.

Peer through the large windows and you’ll see biologists, postgraduates, postdoctorates and undergraduates in bright, day-lit offices and labs working hard to answer fundamental questions about evolution.

Shared social spaces are positioned right by the entrance so that people have no choice but to run into each other. They talk. They get to know each other. Ideas form.

The building really brings people together. The 80 seat seminar room opens up to make one large public space – perfect for welcoming in the next generation of biologists eager to explore evolution.

Instead of designing from theories, we drew on decades of lived experience. The department worked closely with us throughout the design, providing feedback at every stage. From the initial brief and plans, right down to the colours of the furniture and the evolutionary details.

The result? A building absolutely regarded as home.

The building was months in the planning but the extent to which the architects engaged with us was amazing. It was a true collaborative project and now we have a real sense of owning the building. We designed it for us!

Professor Laurence Hurst, Director of the Milner Centre for Evolution.