We were delighted to receive the news that the proposals for our latest Advanced Manufacturing project within the University of Sheffield’s Innovation District were given the green light by Sheffield City Council’s Planning Department.
The Gene Therapy Innovation Centre (GTIMC) will be one of three cutting-edge hubs in the UK dedicated to advancing the clinical development of new pioneering genetic treatments for millions of patients with life-threatening diseases.
Representing the latest in a long line of Innovation-focused projects which the practice have designed, our expertise in this area is something which we are incredibly proud of. Since the early 2000s, Bond Bryan have been at the architectural forefront of the Advanced Manufacturing sector – having acted as Architects, Landscape Masterplanners and Technical Advisors involving multiple world-class research campuses across the UK and overseas. With a client-base – spanning organisations from aerospace giants like Rolls-Royce and Boeing, to supporting the research of some of the UK’s world-leading academic institutions – our team understands what it means to design and deliver a truly exemplary Advanced Manufacturing facility.
Jon Rigby is an Associate Director within Bond Bryan’s Sheffield Studio and is our national sector-lead for Advanced Manufacturing, Innovation, Research and Industrial projects within the practice.
Having joined Bond Bryan as a fresh-faced Part I graduate in 2006, Jon quickly developed an interest and a passion in technology-focused architectural design – designing and delivering our £15m Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre project for the University of Sheffield within his first full year at the company.
Jon has since grown into his current leadership role as our recognised Advanced Manufacturing expert, becoming a mentor for junior staff across the business and helping to weave design excellence and quality into, and at the forefront of, everything that we do as a practice.
As designer and project lead for the GTIMC project – and having led or been directly involved with over fifteen of Bond Bryan’s award-winning projects across Sheffield’s world-renowned Advanced Manufacturing Research Campus – we wanted to get Jon’s view on what the key factors, of designing and delivering a cutting-edge Advanced Manufacturing environment, really are:
Q: Why did you want to become an Architect?
A: I’ve always wanted to be an Architect for as long as I can remember, and I always used to love designing my own spaces as a kid – from treehouse hideaways to den fortresses – and that passion for creating places has never really faded.
For my 9th birthday, I asked for an A3 Portable Rotring Drawing Board and I would spend hours designing my own “dream home”; it was all always very obsessive and symmetrical – tendencies I’ve not managed to shake yet nearly three decades later and ones which are distinctly evident within most of the Advanced Manufacturing projects that I’ve worked on!
As I progressed through my education, I discovered that my academic strengths and interests favoured Art, Graphic Design, Maths and Science. I think that’s why I value working with our Advanced Manufacturing clients so highly: there’s a real beauty in that disciplined pursuit of absolute engineering perfection within high-end industrial architecture – qualities which we always seek to try and emulate in our designs within the sector.
Q: What inspires you as an Architect?
A: I love knowing that what we do has the potential to enhance the lives and experiences of others. I love knowing that the facilities which we design are helping to contribute towards the technology of the future. UK investment into the innovation and industry sector is unparalleled at the moment and I find it so rewarding to know that, with this investment – and the opportunities which our projects unlock – comes the potential to transform local communities and inspire the next generation of engineers and designers.
I also just love working with people – and being an Architect allows me to do that every single day, in so many different ways. Whether that be creatively solving design problems with colleagues, collaborating on projects with consultant partners, or sharing that first experience of a brand-new building with our clients. At the end of the day, being able to produce a piece of functionally beautiful architecture is great, but what is infinitely more rewarding is the relationships that are built along the way.
Q: What do you think is the most important element of designing an Advanced Manufacturing environment?
A: Definitely getting the brief right. With Advanced Manufacturing projects, it can be incredibly challenging to distil such an intricate, complex technical brief into a functional and ‘future-proof’ solution. This last part can be especially tricky because, in the Advanced Manufacturing sector, ultimate future-proofing just isn’t realistic – the technology and research within this sector moves so rapidly that, within a couple years, the sector’s needs have changed completely.
The key to the successful and sustainable design of Advanced Manufacturing environments isn’t therefore about understanding how the sector is going to change and in what direction, but moreover, just accepting that it will change – and it will change rapidly. Ultimately, our buildings should recognise, accommodate and facilitate this change with creative solutions that allow our clients’ organisations to adapt and grow – to suit and remain viable and relevant for decades to come.