Institute of Safe Autonomy

University of York

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The Institute for Safe Autonomy (ISA) provides a world-leading research facility for safely and ethically realising the full potential of robotics and connected autonomous systems at the University of York.

The Brief

A new build flagship research facility located on the University of York’s Campus East was required to provide workspace for researchers from across the University.

The Design

The central atrium within the main entrance and reception area reaches up the lower roof and upper roof (second floor) which provide natural light to the heart of the building and surrounding lab spaces and offices. Surrounding this open core is feature timber panelled walls, glazed screens and open corridors.

Providing an extremely air-tight, well insulated building with high exposed thermal mass and good control measures were among the most important considerations.

The building targeted low u-values of 0.1 for walls, floor and roof, with triple glazing and an airtightness of 0.3. A hybrid ventilation system provides open plan offices with natural ventilation. The use of openable windows and core ventilation stacks ensures cross ventilation, with labs being mechanically ventilated.

The robustness of the product specific spaces was a key element to ensure the building would withstand any impacts from the robotics.

The Outcome

Securing acoustic performance across the building was a priority and a substantial provision of acoustic material has been allowed for in the design based on the BREEAM criteria.

Externally there is hardstanding around the building perimeter, as well as cycle facilities and hard and soft landscaped areas.

The building comprises world class facilities including flexible open plan offices, 11 specialist labs, workshops, testing area, under water tank lab and roof top testing spacing.