New Enterprise Centre opens at University of Reading

15.06.11

A new landmark Enterprise Centre based at the University of Reading’s ‘Whiteknights Campus’ was officially opened today (14 June 2011) by Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, Mark Prisk MP.

Creating a new community of innovation and technology-based companies, and providing direct access to the university’s research and enterprise expertise and talent pool of staff, students and graduates, the £10m scheme, designed by Scott Brownrigg for the University and Kier Property is a major element of a larger campus masterplan. Located within the ‘Early Gate’ area of the campus, it replaces a former single storey post war building with 55,000 sq ft of floor space for research and development, office and workspace over three storey’s.

The building has been designed with flexibility in mind, catering for a range of occupants whilst allowing for potential future growth and development, and uses a combination of floor plates enabling occupation of smaller suites from 100 – 1,000 sq ft and larger bespoke floor plates from 1,000 – 10,000 sq ft. A central atrium links both office workspace environments, creating an integrated, tiered form that acts as a focal point and provides a community hub for business integration, communication and interaction. Other facilities include meeting rooms; a networking area and a coffee shop, on-site car parking, cycle sheds and changing facilities.

The combination of materials used within the external envelope complement its surroundings and creates an innovative building and an identity for this area of the campus.  The building has been designed to provide a sustainable working environment and features a reduced floor plate depth to allow good levels of natural sunlight, a highly insulated envelope, PV panels, chilled beams, solar hot water, solar control glazing and brise soleil.  The incorporation of Green and Brown Roofs creates a degree of bio-diversity, a habitat for wildlife whilst increasing the water attenuation within the site, in addition to the sustainable urban drainage solution provided below ground.

David Gillham, Director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Reading, said: “The University boasts real expertise in knowledge transfer and we work hard with business to provide flexible facilities, develop talented people for business needs and create access to the results of our research. Reading Enterprise Centre will significantly grow the University’s ability to develop a cluster of businesses located at the University and will be the bridge for small start-up businesses while they grow, before ultimately moving onto larger premises in the proposed Science and Innovation Park.”

50% of the Enterprise Centre has already been let to companies, including  Lein Applied Diagnostics, Mediasift, SocialNetit.com and Assuria.

Planning permission has also been achieved for phase one of the 800,000 sq ft masterplan for the University’s Science and Innovation Park, which has also been created by Scott Brownrigg and is adjacent to the M4 in Shinfield, Reading.  The park will provide a creative business environment where innovation-led, knowledge-based companies can locate and develop and is designed to encourage close interaction between businesses, the university and other similar research and knowledge centres across the UK.