Exciting news! Construction began this month on what will be the UK’s largest straw bale building, which will utilize prefabricated construction and local straw from nearby farmland. The Sutton Bonington Biosciences Building at the University of Nottingham’s agriculture campus will bring a high-tech facility to the rural setting, combining the School of Biosciences and the School of Veterinary and Medical Sciences into one building. London-based Make Architects are responsible for the design of the new facility, which is slated to achieve a BREEAM Excellent Rating.
The new Biosciences building will be constructed from prefabricated panels filled with straw bale, and the timber and straw will be locally-sourced directly from the University’s farmland. Solar passive design and careful site location were employed to minimize solar gain and allow the building to interact with its surroundings. A natural tree line near the building’s location was used as inspiration for the linear facade.
Construction of the prefabricated straw bale biosciences building marks the beginning of a 20-year master plan of the campus, which aims to enhance its reputation as a primary destination for the study of plant and animal sciences. Prefabricated straw bale construction is certainly not new in the UK – in fact, many straw bale prefab buildings have been completed by Modcell. However, this new university building, which will be largest of its kind in the UK, will certainly improve the construction techniques and help foster a greater awareness of the technology.