National Graphene Institute

Coordinates: 53°28′7.5″N 2°14′0.4″W / 53.468750°N 2.233444°W / 53.468750; -2.233444
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National Graphene Institute
The National Graphene Institute.JPG
General information
LocationManchester, United Kingdom
Coordinates53°28′7.5″N 2°14′0.4″W / 53.468750°N 2.233444°W / 53.468750; -2.233444
Construction started2013[1]
OwnerUniversity of Manchester
Technical details
Floor count5[1]
Floor area7,600 m2 (82,000 sq ft)[1]
Design and construction
Architect(s)Jestico + Whiles[2]
Main contractorBam Construct[2]

The National Graphene Institute is a research institute and building at the University of Manchester that is focused on the research of graphene. Construction of the building to house the institute started in 2013[1] and finished in 2015.


The creation of the Institute, including the construction of the building, cost £61 million. Funded by the UK Government (£38m) and the European Union's European Regional Development Fund (£23m), the building is the national centre for graphene research in the UK. It provides facilities for industry and university academics to collaborate on graphene applications and the commercialisation of graphene. The building was opened on 20 March 2015 by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.[3]


The five-storey glass-fronted building provides 7,600 m2 (82,000 sq ft) of research space. This includes 1,500 m2 (16,000 sq ft) of class 100 and class 1000 clean rooms, one of which occupies the entire lower ground floor (in order to minimise vibrations)[4][1] plus laser, optical, metrology and chemical laboratories, along with offices, a seminar room and accommodation.[5] The top floor also includes a roof terrace, which has 21 different grasses and wildflowers designed to attract urban bees and other species of pollinators.[6] The outside of the building consists of a composite cladding, with an external stainless steel 'veil'.[4] The building faces on to Booth Street East. Construction started in March 2013, with the building being completed in 2015.[1]

The building was designed by Jestico + Whiles in close collaboration with a team of academics lead by Prof Sir Konstantin Novoselov. It cost around £30m, and was constructed by Bam Construct. The structural design was produced by Ramboll. Other shortlisted organisations were: Lend Lease, Laing O'Rourke, Morgan Sindall, Vinci, and M&W Group).[2] The design work was led by EC Harris, along with CH2M Hill who provided specialist technical architecture design services for the cleanrooms and laboratories, together with Mechanical, Electrical and Process (MEP) consultant services.[4]

History of the location[edit]

The Institute was constructed on the former site of the Albert Club, which was a Victorian club that was located between Lawson Street and Clifford Street.[7][8] The club was established for the middle class German community that were involved in Manchester's cotton trade, and Friedrich Engels frequented it during his time in the city, becoming a member in 1842.[7][8] The club was located on Clifford Street from 1842 prior to its relocation in 1859.[9] The building was constructed by the architect Jeptha Pacey as his personal house, and it was fronted by formal gardens. It was later converted into a private social club, which was named after Albert, Prince Consort. More recently it had been re-purposed as Turkish public baths,[7] and was later used as a hospital for women and children.[10] The building was demolished in the 1960s,[citation needed] and the site was used for the construction of the Lamb Building.[11]

The excavations that took place in February 2013 by Oxford Archaeology North, prior to the construction of the Institute, uncovered the remnants of the club building along with a row of five cellars belonging to 1830s terraced housing. A sink removed from the site has been incorporated into the Institute's new building.[7] As the main clean room of the new building is now located 3 m (9.8 ft) below ground level,[11] the remains of the Albert Club were not conserved.



  1. ^ a b c d e f "First look at world-leading graphene Institute". University of Manchester. 14 January 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Contractor picked for £61m Graphene Institute". 30 May 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Chancellor officially opens National Graphene Institute". University of Manchester. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "National Graphene Institute" (PDF). Jestico + whiles. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  5. ^ "National Graphene Institute". Jestico + whiles. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  6. ^ "National Graphene Institute (NGI) | The University of Manchester". Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d "How the Industrial Revolution is part of Manchester's new revolution". University of Manchester. 27 February 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Graphene revolution reveals lost 'local' of the father of communism Fredrich Engels". Manchester Evening News. 1 March 2013.
  9. ^ Henderson, W.O. (1976). The Life of Friedrich Engels. Vol. 1. Cass. p. 229. ISBN 9780714613208. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Archaeological Excavation on Booth Street East – Open Day 1 March". Museum Meets. 28 February 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Item 9 Site of former Lamb Building". Manchester City Council. 17 January 2013.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]