Apr 20, 2018 Last Updated 12:58 PM, Apr 18, 2018

The Jack Copland Centre makes extensive use of glass to maximise natural light

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The new Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) HQ building will be called the Jack Copland Centre and it is due to complete and be fully operational by the summer of 2017. Once finished, it will be the most advanced facility of its type in Europe.


Developed through a joint partnership of Kajima and Interserve, it is being constructed at the Heriot-Watt University Research Park, Edinburgh. The facility will centralise all processing, testing and distribution of blood, tissue, platelets and cell products for the whole of Scotland. As the demand for red blood cells and platelets is predicted to increase by up to 25% in the next 10 years, the new centre will be instrumental in meeting this escalating demand.

The centre has been carefully designed not only to meet stringent safety requirements but to ensure that the building fosters a collaborative working environment. Whilst it has been essential to ensure that the level of safety is not compromised, efficient and integrated working is at the heart of the design. It is hoped that this will improve the productivity and efficiency of staff and ultimately staff retention and output.

To optimise the use of space and foster a sense of flow, the building has been designed to be free of columns, and instead glass and glazing is used throughout. The glass ensures that materials and products are kept apart but a sense of connection and belonging is maintained. Specialised glass has been used for high-grade labs ensuring that they remain airtight, in-line with stringent requirements, whilst standard glass partitions are used in the rest of the building.

The arcade forms the heart of the Jack Copland Centre. Surrounded by glass, it dissolves visual boundaries by drawing daylight and air into the centre of the building. The pathways in the building ensure that all staff and visitors will pass through the arcade, providing not only a centrepiece and social area in which to relax, but also a fascinating glimpse into what is literally the life blood of the building – the blood processing laboratories.

The facility has been orientated to maximise effective use of natural light. South-facing social areas are flooded with light through vast windows looking out to the countryside, while laboratories receive indirect or north light helping to keep these areas in optimal condition.

Careful architectural design and the use of glass and glazing as the most prominent material in this £33m state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence has brought together the social and technical functions of the building – its work spaces and its people – to form one effective, functioning cohesive whole.

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