Home North London Project of the Year (over £50m): winner

Project of the Year (over £50m): winner


Winner: Willmott Dixon – The Pears Building, Immunity & Transplantation Research Facility

The Pears Building provides a new home for the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation (IIT), allowing researchers to collaborate with clinicians at the neighbouring Royal Free Hospital. Willmott Dixon’s client for the design-and-build contract, the Royal Free Charity (RFC), was just one of three key stakeholders, alongside the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and UCL.

This complex £60m project was packed into a restricted site in Hampstead, London, where it attracted plenty of scrutiny from local residents during its 160-week programme.

The seven-storey facility caters for up to 200 researchers, providing both laboratories and offices, as well as two floors of accommodation, with views over Hampstead Heath, for patients undergoing clinical trials.

“The Pears Building is a world-class scientific and medical facility built to high standards of sustainability, adding great social value to the community”

Judges’ comment

A five-storey concrete frame was carefully designed to provide world-class, vibration-free labs, while the top two floors utilised a steel-frame design. Sustainability was also a key goal, with the building earning a BREEAM Excellent rating.

RFC chief executive Jon Spiers said: “This stunning new building marks a major leap forward for research, treatment and care in north London. Under one roof, we’ll have world-leading researchers, accommodation for patients, parking for visitors, a café for the community, and a new home for the Royal Free Charity.”

The CN Awards judges were suitably impressed: “The Pears Building is a world-class scientific and medical facility built to high standards of sustainability, adding great social value to the community and using innovative solutions to overcome complex logistical challenges.”

They added that Willmott Dixon had “performed construction surgery in a very constrained urban environment” to deliver this “unique and special project”.

Highly commended: Environment Agency – Boston Barrier Scheme

The Boston Barrier Scheme is one of the biggest civil engineering projects the town has ever seen. Led by the Environment Agency and delivered by a Bam Nuttall-Mott MacDonald joint venture, the project aims to protect over 14,250 homes and 580 businesses from tidal flooding.

The judges said the scheme represented “an extremely challenging engineering project” but praised the team’s achievement in overcoming “both environmental and logistical complexities to deliver a ground-breaking flood defence barrier, protecting the community and local area from the effects of climate change”.

Highly commended: Tilbury Douglas Construction – Durham University – Mount Oswald

The Mount Oswald project delivered almost 27,000 square metres of new university campus, with more than 1,000 new student bedrooms as well as new social and academic space. The design, build, finance, and operate structure of the scheme provided “an ideal opportunity to think and act differently”, Tilbury Douglas said.

The CN Awards judges said the outcome “presented the future of the construction industry” and “pushed boundaries” in both offsite manufacturing and low-carbon outcomes. “The partnership between contractor and client was exemplary and it was clear to the judges that Tilbury Douglas Construction went the extra mile to deliver a truly great solution,” they added.

Other finalists

  • National Highways & the A14 Integrated Delivery Team – A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme
  • John Sisk & Son – E03 Canada Gardens, Wembley Regeneration
  • Network Rail on behalf of Scotland’s Railway – Glasgow Queen Street station redevelopment
  • Robertson – Inverurie Community Campus
  • VolkerStevin and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) – Northern Ammunition Jetty in Glen Mallan
  • Willmott Dixon – Engineering Building, University of Birmingham