Cambridge Conservation Campus

Vision

Addressing today’s biodiversity crisis requires major global action. Cambridge has long been home to a large group of conservationists who are making a significant contribution to global biodiversity conservation efforts. But CCI's vision for the future is even bolder. In bringing the Cambridge-based conservation community together on a conservation campus at the heart of the city, the University and its partners are strengthening their individual potential to effect change on the ground through collective action. CCI's shared goal is to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to benefit from nature's wealth. To achieve this, CCI must continue to raise the profile of nature conservation across the world.

The campus harnesses the individual skills and networks of a rich and varied cluster of researchers and practitioners motivated by a desire to help the world change course. Through co-location of the CCI partners in one building, CCI is delivering a step-change in:

  • Collaborative working between researchers, policy makers and practitioners
  • Convening and communication opportunities and abilities
  • Cross-cutting and interdisciplinary translational research
  • Information sharing, knowledge transfer and worldwide networking
  • Innovation, entrepreneurship and novel approaches
  • Efficiency of resource use and cost savings
  • Leadership training and capacity development
  • Decision support for the public, private and voluntary sectors
  • Public understanding of, and engagement, in conservation

About the project

The Campus occupies three floors of an existing building on the New Museums Site in the centre of Cambridge. The building has been named the David Attenborough Building, in recognition of Sir David's pioneering work in bringing the wonders of the natural world to a global audience. In December 2015, the first of the CCI partners moved in, and by early 2016, all partners were established in the new space.

The André Hoffman Atrium forms the centre of the building, acting as the heart of the campus, with a shared reception area and visitor facilities. A four-storey tall living green wall, featuring biodiverse rich vegetation, provides a compelling visual focus around which people move and interact as part of their daily routines. The Campus provides a vibrant working environment for around 500 individuals; 150 academics and 350 from CCI's conservation organisation partners. The campus includes the following:

  • A hub for the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, including: academic staff, research groups, Masters student teaching room, laboratory space for conservation research and teaching
  • Offices for nine leading international conservation organisations and networks currently based in the Cambridge area
  • Shared facilities, including: a conservation Information Resource Centre, atrium with reception area, café and communal spaces for networking, seminar and meeting rooms
  • Space for temporary use by visiting collaborators/scholars/partners
  • Space for artists in residence, as well as locations to display art throughout the Campus
  • Direct access to a 450-seat University lecture theatre

Sustainability

From the start of the project, ensuring the Campus was as ‘green’ a building as possible was at the heart of this refurbishment. A consultation process at the outset with the future tenants, the architects and the sustainability engineers resulted in the development of a bespoke sustainability framework, with targets across 10 themes, including: biodiversity and ecology; energy and carbon; health and wellbeing; transport and mobility; waste and water. Headline sustainability features of the refurbished building include:

  • A large biodiverse green roof to promote urban biodiversity
  • Greatly improved thermal comfort achieved through internal insulation
  • New double glazing and an efficient ventilation system that maximises natural ventilation
  • A low carbon heat supply from a combined heat and power system
  • Rooftop electricity generation from solar photovoltaics
  • A metering infrastructure to facilitate competitive energy and water monitoring throughout the building

Cost

The entire cost of the refurbishment of the David Attenborough building (which houses the Museum of Zoology, the Charles Babbage Lecture Theatre, and the CCI Campus) is £57.8 million. Of this, £30 million represents the cost of the CCI Campus itself. Generous donations from a number of Foundations have made the refurbishment possible. These include the MAVA Foundation, the A. G. Leventis Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation.