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About the Building

The Discovery Centre for Translational and Interdisciplinary Research, designed by BMJ Architects, is an annexe of the School of Life Sciences and consists of 4,530 m2 of laboratories and associated office and meeting space over four storeys. Construction started in July 2012 and the building opened on October 1 2014.

The new facility will enable innovation by breaking down barriers between scientific disciplines, in part through a new enclosed ‘street' formed between the Discovery Centre and the existing College of Life Sciences complex. The space acts as a place for meeting, collaboration and networking. It also includes LifeSpace Science Art Research Gallery, curated by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), to promote arts and science collaboration and host international and local exhibitions.

Scales of Life

A major collaborative work of art by Professor Elaine Shemilt and her team from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) and School of Life Sciences scientists, entitled "Scales of Life", graces the facade of the building, a major SciArt commission that embodies science and the visualization process. The overarching objective of this permanent artwork is to engage the general public and visitors to the College of Life Sciences, by communicating key areas of life sciences research, in particular reflecting the work carried out in Dundee. The project is a collaboration between the artist Professor Elaine Shemilt and her team from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design together with Regius Professor Michael Ferguson and BMJ architects.

On three facades of the CTIR building, 16 columns of large metal cladding panels incorporate Prof Shemilt's artistic abstractions which represent the 4 key scales of life: Molecular, Organellar, Cellular and Tissue. The cladding panels (1.5m wide x 3.6m high) are made from a high quality anodised aluminium and are arranged vertically into groups of 4 panels. The panels address the essence of the four main scales of life and the intangibility of their size and dimensions. The visual abstractions reflect both an interpretive aesthetic approach, and the need to retain scientific recognition and accuracy.