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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory
Exterior view of the Ray Dolby Centre

The completion and handover of the Ray Dolby Centre, the new home for the Cavendish Laboratory, Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge, has taken place on Thursday 30th May 2024. Designed by Jestico + Whiles and completed by Bouygues UK, this state-of-the-art facility will support the Cavendish’s world-leading research and teaching.

With this significant milestone reached, the focus will now shift to the relocation of approximately 1,100 staff members and students, as well as the seamless migration of our research laboratories, scientific equipment, technical instruments and undergraduate teaching laboratories. It is anticipated that the Ray Dolby Centre will be fully operational by the summer of 2025, and an official opening ceremony will be held to celebrate this final stage.

Located at the heart of the University’s Cambridge West Innovation District, The Ray Dolby Centre occupies over 33,000 square meters across four floors. It houses cutting-edge laboratories which spans the whole of physics research, and collaborative working spaces for researchers and students.

Named in recognition of a generous £85 million gift from the estate of Cambridge alumnus and sound pioneer Ray Dolby, the physics facility also includes extensive teaching and learning spaces, including a 400-seat lecture theatre, teaching labs for undergraduates, a learning resource centre, outreach and exhibition spaces, as well as a café.

With further support of £75 million from UK government, administered through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), this highly technical facility also provides clean rooms, cryostat halls, microscopy suites and laser and optical labs. It will serve as a national centre providing opportunities for collaborative use of facilities, research and instruments by any university and industry researchers across the country.

Designed by Jestico + Whiles and built by Bouygues UK, the Ray Dolby Centre combines functionality and sustainability while honouring the historical and academic significance of the Cavendish Laboratory, a place of pioneering physics that has been at the forefront of scientific discovery for 150 years.

The Ray Dolby Centre is the centrepiece and final part of the University’ project to replace the previous facilities for the Cavendish Laboratory, which were outdated and had poor environmental performance. Its completion marks a significant step in the University of Cambridge's vision to transform the West Cambridge campus into a vibrant research and learning environment.

Post completion works such as IT, AV, and furniture fit out will be conducted in the upcoming months, along with a comprehensive commissioning process to ensure the building is ready for occupation. The move of staff and laboratories into the Ray Dolby Centre is scheduled to start in early 2025 and will last until the summer.  


Exterior and interior views of The Ray Dolby Centre. Credit: Bouygues UK | Red90