University of Sheffield AMRC North West 

Cartwright Pickard worked collaboratively with Robertson and our supply chain throughout the project to provide a high-quality building for the University of Sheffield. The project was delivered through a global pandemic, which Cartwright Pickard adapted to and still provided a great service. It’s been a pleasure.

Dave Watson, Senior Project Manager, Robertson

Client  University of Sheffield
Location  Samlesbury, Lancashire
Completion  2021
Cost  £11m


  • RIBA stages 1-6
  • Architectural design


  • BCO Northern Awards - Finalist
  • RICS Award - Best Commercial Development in the North West
  • Construction News Awards - Project of the Year (shortlisted)
  • Lancashire Project of the Year - North West Construction Awards

The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre North West combines modern workspace with a flexible high-tech workshop at the gateway to the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone. Over a landscaped bund, lightweight bronze metal cladding blends the 48,000 sqft building into the colour and tone of the rural surroundings.

Being a flagship research centre for advanced manufacturing meant it was essential that the building met the highest environmental standards. Horizontal slots of glazing are provided to the office and seminar rooms, with projecting cappings and perimeter framing for passive solar shading. Reflective solid panels are used within the curtain walls to further reduce solar gain, whilst retaining the articulated openings that define the office and seminar rooms from a nearby main road.

The workshop is clad in silver metal sinusoidal sheets wrapped over high levels of insulation. With a prominent east and west orientation, a neutral colour catches the warm tones of the morning and evening light whilst defining the different internal use from the office with a subtle shift in colour. Junctions between the sheets are articulated with bronze fins demarking where the structural grid occurs internally to help break down the mass.


Internally, the structural steel frame is exposed as part of a celebration of the engineering and technology within the building. A triple-height atrium provides natural light and ventilation. It creates a focal point where occupants can interact and exchange ideas.

This ‘social heart’ space overlooks the workshop, where these ideas will inform innovative research into new manufacturing processes, with a focus on key sustainable industries such as vehicle electrification. Breakout spaces from the atrium allow for the informal interactions that are key to the success of research-led workspace.

Flexibility is at the core of the design. The working spaces can be easily reconfigured as classrooms, seminar rooms or office space with moveable partitions. The popularity of the social hub for informal meetings and presentations is a testimony to the value of considered planning to foster collaboration.

The workshop space offers varying zones which can be adapted for different research and manufacturing tasks, accommodated through both the architectural and services design. This all enables the building to evolve with changing demands.

University of Sheffield AMRC North West

AMRC is the University of Sheffield’s ‘Low Carbon Demonstrator,’ where sustainable technologies are tested ahead of rollout to their wider estate. 5G sensors have been integrated into the building to monitor building energy performance and post occupation use. The University are using this data to record the performance of sustainable technologies that are being trialled on the building as part of their ‘Factory of the Future’ initiative.

University of Sheffield AMRC North West
University of Sheffield AMRC North West
University of Sheffield AMRC North West

Photography Marcus Quigley