AL_A’s design for General Fusion’s demonstration facility passes a major milestone.January 17 2023
AL_A’s design for General Fusion’s demonstration facility at the UKAEA’s Culham Science Centre in South Oxfordshire, UK, has passed a major milestone with the South Oxfordshire District Council Planning Committee resolving to grant planning permission.
Fusion energy has the potential to provide the planet with abundant low-carbon energy by replicating the process that powers the sun and the stars. The building design captures this technological optimism and messages fusion’s extraordinary potential.
Wrapped in translucent fabric to soften the building’s appearance, a 38m high fusion hall will house General Fusion’s magnetised target fusion machine. Daylit, naturally ventilated office spaces, workshops and laboratories are arranged in a loop around the hall, allowing views into fusion and out onto nature.
This transparency makes the endeavour visible to all, inviting a connection between the public and the technology and prompting questions, dialogue and opportunities to learn. It also creates an active and connected workspace and a shift in the relationship between environment and industry, moving from one of opposition to one of symbiosis.
Conceived as an extension of the fusion machine, the radial arrangement provides maximum operational efficiency.
“AL_A has designed a building that is exceptionally functional and beautiful. Their approach demonstrates how architecture can cohesively integrate fusion energy infrastructure into society. We can’t wait to kick-off construction this year and anticipate commissioning our fusion machine in 2026 with full operations starting early the following year.”
Greg Twinney, CEO, General Fusion
“Receiving planning permission is a huge milestone and testament to the close collaboration between the team, General Fusion and UKAEA. The building will not only be highly efficient but one that expresses the technological optimism of fusion to solve the energy problems of the world. The design projects a confident message to the public about the extraordinary potential of this technology. It represents a clear shift in the relationship between environment and industry, moving from one of opposition to one of symbiosis.”
The South Oxfordshire District Council Planning Committee met 11 January 2023. The committee considered the proposed design to be both functional and striking and noted “The building is of exemplary design and meticulously thought through.”
Construction work will start this year.