The National Graphene Institute (NGI) is a new £61m facility based at the University of Manchester in the UK. Recently crowned “major building project of the year” at the annual British Construction Industry Awards, the NGI is designed to bring researchers from academia and industry together to turn research into graphene and other 2D materials into commercial products. In this video we take you on a tour of the building and you will learn about its major design concepts from lead architect Tony Ling.
The five-storey, 7600 m2 building opened earlier this year and includes two large cleanrooms, optical labs and open spaces for collaboration. Ling works for the London-based architects Jestico + Whiles and the firm worked closely with Nobel laureate Konstantin Novoselov to meet the needs of the communities using the facility. The Russian-British researcher and his Manchester colleague Andre Geim shared the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics for isolating graphene for the first time and their subsequent studies of the material.
Part of the design ethos has been to create a building with a sense of openness. Many of the internal walls are covered in black PVC so that researchers can freely share their ideas using special chalk-effect pens. Meanwhile, sections of the subterranean cleanrooms are visible from street level so that the public can catch a glimpse of the work taking place within the NGI. Last week, the NGI was visited by the Chinese president Xi Jinping during his inaugural state visit to the UK.