Translational office space with wellbeing and pioneering environmental design at its core.

Thornton Building for Bioinformatics at Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton
Copyright Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

The Thornton Building will be part of the masterplan for the Wellcome Genome Campus at Hinxton and provide workspace for 250 personnel, together with conferencing facilities and a café. We have designed the building around their existing culture of extensive collaboration, with outdoor working and social space in support of their flexible approach to working.

  Translational research deals with big data for biosciences. The European Bioinformatics Institute's new UK hub will provide suitable office accommodation with an emphasis on collaboration, communication and wellbeing and provide flexibility for any future tenant.

Key Information

Sector: Workplace, Regenerative Design & Sustainability, Science & Innovation

Client: European Bioinformatics Institute

Location: Cambridge

Completion: March 2024

Size: 3,991sqm

Green to the (biophilic) core

The three-floor building is focused around a biophilic core supporting wellbeing as well as environmental design. A pioneering approach to low carbon design has been advocated from project inception – both for operational and embodied carbon - with the ambition to provide the most environmentally sustainable development feasible.

  At the early stages of design we were able to demonstrate - through the use of FCBS Carbon - how key decisions, such as the structural system, building envelope and structural grid would affect the embodied carbon of the future building. This has resulted in a CLT and Glulam timber structure, which in turn influences the biophilic interior and gives a strong focus on wellbeing for the user.

ASHP and solar panels, natural cork flooring, cycle storage and shower facilities add to the sustainable operation and staff experience of the building.

Section through the Thornton Building

The Thornton building will enable the institute to respond to increasing demands on its services and develop new collaborations with academia and industry alike.

Edith Heard, EMBL Director General

Leaders in their field

The European Bioinformatics institute (EBI) is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and Europe’s hub for biomolecular data.   The building is to be named after Professor Dame Janet Thornton who was Director of EMBL-EBI from October 2001 to June 2015 and is a pioneer of structural bioinformatics, using computational methods to understand protein structure and form.


Main Contractor
Kier Construction
Civil & Structural Engineer
M&E Consultant
Hoare Lea
Landscape Architect
LDA Design
Project Manager
CDM Advisor to PD
CDRM Services
Identity & Wayfinding Consultant
Thomas.Matthews Communication Design

FCBStudios Team Leads