Nebula will consist of seven new research and development units to be built on the eastern edge of the Park. The seven units housed in three buildings will range from 6,000 sq ft, to a single building of more than 30,000 sq ft – together totalling a gross internal area (GIA) of nearly 80,000 sq ft (7432 sq m).
Each building will feature sustainably sourced glue-laminated timber in lieu of steel, significantly reducing levels of embodied carbon. The exposed glulam beams will be visible inside the building and the vaulted ceilings will accommodate science and technology companies using large-scale laboratory or high-tech engineering equipment.
Nebula is being built to meet BREEAM ‘Excellent’ sustainability standards – the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for infrastructure and building. It will target an A-rating Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – the top band for building energy efficiency.
The milestone coincides with World Space Week and the UK Space Agency announcing up to £65 million of funding for ground-breaking innovations that could boost UK leadership in space technologies and applications.
Kathryn Andrew, Development Manager at MEPC Milton Park, said: “We’re looking forward to working with Barnwood Limited again and the rest of the team on this stellar project, which will further regenerate and gentrify the eastern entrance to the Park.
“Nebula forms part of our development plans and aligns closely to our 2040 Vision for the Park, which will deliver flexible laboratory and office space to support 10,000 new jobs and create a 24/7 sustainable hub for innovation.
“The development will serve as a launch-pad for occupiers gravitating towards flexible, adaptable workspaces, giving them the ability to scale quickly when innovation begins to skyrocket.”
David Piper, Joint Managing Director at Barnwood Limited, said: “Delivering projects that are sustainable and pragmatic whilst incorporating our clients’ visions is a central part of our ethos.
“Following on from our work on Bee House, we’re looking forward to bringing the same quality and creativity to the construction of Nebula.”
Providing a boost for Oxford’s life science and technology ecosystem, plans for Nebula were submitted for approval to the Vale of White Horse District Council via the Park’s Local Development Order (LDO). The 10-day LDO simplified the planning process allows developments to be fast tracked.
Following a £7m infrastructure investment, occupiers at Nebula will have access to Milton Park’s enhanced power capacity, accommodating future demands with energy purchased by MEPC on a green tariff.
Working alongside Milton Park and Barnwood Limited as part of the project team are SRA Architects, ASA Landscape Architects, Ridge & Partners LLP (BREEAM, cost management, M&E, principal design, project management), Stantec (civil and structural engineering), Mainer Associates (sustainability consultant), William Downie Associates (utilities) and Cundall (carbon consultant).