Having worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company, from 1998-2008, I had been lucky enough to make the acquaintance of one of the most significant patrons of the company, Susie Sainsbury. Susie & her husband David undertake a lot of philanthropic work through their Gatsby Foundation.
In late 2011, I was asked by Susie to create a series of documentaries covering the building of their new project in Cambridge, a laboratory for plant science. Although not having a background in plant science, I was very keen in architecture & I also understood documentary film making. During an unseasonably warm September, myself & a small crew set off for Cambridge for a few days to film this amazing building & the people who built it & work there.
The documentaries cover the many aspects of the project; the site (a botanic garden founded by a contemporary of Darwin, John Stevens Henslow), the design, the build, the work carried out here & also the art installations that were commissioned for the building.
The building was eventually shortlisted for the 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture. The BBC made a Culture Show special of the shortlisted building, using much of the footage from my films. The Sainsbury Laboratory eventually won the Stirling Prize that year. The architects behind this stunning building are Stanton Williams.