William Gates Building, Cambridge

Coordinates: 52°12′39″N 0°05′31″E / 52.210925°N 0.092022°E / 52.210925; 0.092022 (William Gates Building, Cambridge)
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William Gates Building
General information
LocationCambridge, England
Address15 JJ Thomson Avenue
Coordinates52°12′39″N 0°05′31″E / 52.210925°N 0.092022°E / 52.210925; 0.092022 (William Gates Building, Cambridge)
Cost£20 million
OwnerUniversity of Cambridge
Top floor2
Awards and prizesBronze Green Impact Award

The William Gates Building, or WGB, is a square building that houses the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, on the University's West Cambridge site in JJ Thomson Avenue south of the Madingley Road in Cambridge, England.[1][2][3] Construction on the building began in 1999 and was completed in 2001 at a cost of £20 million. Opened by Maurice Wilkes, it was named after William H. Gates Sr., the father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.[4] The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided 50% of the money for the building's construction.

Building features[edit]

The building has the following features:[citation needed]

  • The glass wall in the "fishbowl," a communal seating area in the building, is decorated with a paper-tape representation of the original EDSAC "Initial Orders" (boot program) written by David Wheeler and of a program written by Maurice Wilkes in 1949 to compute squares[5]
  • The building's main thoroughfare, called "The Street", has tiles that match the binary, UTF-8 representation of 'Computer Laboratory — AD 2001 — ☺'
  • The fishbowl contains the original door to the Mathematical laboratory[6]

Energy efficiency[edit]

The William Gates Building aims to be energy-efficient.[7] Its energy-saving measures include:[8]

  • Aggressive sleep scheduling of desktop computers.
  • Use of a chilled-beam convection-based cooling system, with Oventrop valves, to cool rooms in the summer, and warm the floor above in the winter.
  • Turning off lights in corridors, and the street, using motion sensors.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The William Gates Building, University of Cambridge, UK.
  2. ^ William Gates Building, University of Cambridge, Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), UK. Archived October 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "William Gates Building, Architect, Photos, Address, Date, Architecture, Images". e-architect.
  4. ^ "Cambridge Computing: The First 75 Years" (PDF). p. 138.
  5. ^ Richards, Martin (15 September 2005). "EDSAC Initial Orders and Squares Program" (PDF). Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  6. ^ "In pictures: How Cambridge Computer Lab changed the world". BBC News. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  7. ^ Energy efficiency
  8. ^ Energy efficiency