Applied Research Technology Demonstrator building, Porton Down

Cutting-edge sustainability design applied to a high-security facility to deliver energy efficiency without compromising the sealed nature of the structure.


The Applied Research Technology Demonstrator building at Porton Down forms a hub for all UK/NATO defence communication networks. It services secret-level communication laboratories for the defence industry to allow development and demonstration of tactical communications systems for both the Ministry of Defence and defence ministries of other allied countries.

With the use of movable security-rated partitions and flexible service provision arrangements, the size and shape of each laboratory can be changed to suit varying needs.

The facility incorporates renewable technology without compromising the sealed nature of the structure. It was designed with natural daylighting and ventilation elements, heat recovery ventilation, solar water heating and rainwater recycling. 

The intended use of the building means that extraordinary power cooling loads were required for certain areas. This led to the development of a mixed mode natural ventilation system supported with a high efficiency cooling arrangement.

Hydrock was able to deliver complete design from feasibility to tender within eight weeks to maintain the client’s construction programme.