Award Recognised Project

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

Designing sustainable life science facilities

Walsh delivered design and build structural and civil engineering services for the first phase of the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, consisting of two in-situ concrete frame buildings. The hub to The Incubator building also includes a striking feature ETFE air cushion exterior.

The two life sciences research buildings have large atria with long-span steel forming the roofs. Using direct links to Walsh’s analysis software, prefabricated reinforcement mats were used to enable rapid slab construction with less reinforcement material, lower embedded CO2, less labour and with significant health and safety improvements for the installers.

Both buildings sit on CFA piled foundations and pile caps with suspended ground floor slabs. The superstructure is formed from reinforced concrete with a small element of structural steel at roof level.

A substantial cut and fill exercise was carried out on the steeply sloping site and varying types of retaining walls were designed including contiguous piles and gabion walls.

Sustainability was designed into the very fabric of the buildings by including elements such as an integrated photovoltaic façade, greywater harvesting and passive cooling alongside a central atrium and light wells to minimise energy usage. An air intake labyrinth has been provided to use the thermal mass of the building and surrounding ground to temper the incoming fresh air to reduce the associated heating and cooling demands. As a result, ‘The Incubator’ was awarded a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ and ‘The Accelerator’ achieved a rating of ‘Very Good’.



Feature image credit:


  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Nightingale Associates
  • Mace
Completion Date2012

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Taking Sustainability Seriously

Sustainability is in our DNA and we have our own ambitious goals to achieve Net Zero as a business and with our designs. With innovative in-house monitoring tools, Walsh clients have seen on average reductions of 10-20% total embodied carbon, with some of our flagship work achieving 60-70% reductions compared with baseline figures.