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Lyell Centre, Heriot Watt University

Lyell Centre, Heriot Watt University

Key Facts


Heriot Watt University / British Geological Survey


Edinburgh, Currie EH14 4AP



Internal Floor Area



April 2016

A shared centre for geological science at the gateway to the campus

Project Info

The Lyell Centre is a joint project between Heriot-Watt University (HWU) and The British Geological Survey (BGS) and establishes a new shared research and office facility on the University’s Riccarton Campus. The building includes the relocation of the BGS’s Scottish HQ and comprises a relatively complex mix of specialist lab spaces, an aquarium, shared social spaces, in addition to office accommodation for both BGS and Heriot-Watt.

The 3 storey building comprises two distinctive wings of open plan workspace accommodation for BGS and a mixture of labs, break out space and workspace for HWU. At the centre where the two wings meet, a curving shared entrance core is located with the aim of bringing the two organisations together.

The external skin is a wrap of brickwork bringing the two wings together at the core. At this central point, the entrance is defined by a full height glazed slot and set back canopy which takes the form of a ‘geological fissure’ cut through the solid masonry mass.

Workplace & Health

The aims of the project were to build on the activities and reputations of BGS and HWU to develop a major new international hub for research, innovation and industry engagement. The joint project offers significant capital and operational cost savings for both organisations, and opportunities for major science collaborations. We were able to bring our wealth of experience of both the commercial and education sectors to this interesting shared opportunity.

Selected Awards

GIA Awards 2016 - shortlisted


Project Manager: Gardiner & Theobald LLP
Structural Engineer: Arup
M&E Engineer: Arup
Cost Consultant: Gardiner & Theobald LLP
CDM Co-ordinator: Gardiner & Theobald LLP
Contractor: Morrison
Photographer: Andrew Lee