Located in a site of special natural beauty, this unique building â€“ designed by Foster and Partners â€“ is a transparent glass structure, sensibly half-sunk into the hillside to reduce its visual impact on the surrounding landscape. The size of the building is further disguised by a large adjoining artificial lake which wraps like a ying into the yang of the architecture. The reflections and surface movements of the water are mirrored in the glass, the building stands with poetic lightness.
The lake water itself serves as a cooling system for the heat producing laboratories and offices within, and this function is made visible by the 180 m long and 4 m high water cascade. The vibrant visual effect of the cascade reveals how it was specially designed to vaporise the water into tiny droplets, to compliment the cooling effect of evaporation from the lake surface.