Cambridge 2000: St John's Innovation Centre: Cowley Road: Ionica headquarters building

Description: St John's Innovation Centre: Cowley Road: Ionica headquarters building
Date built: 1994
Architect: R H Partnership
St John's Innovation Centre: Cowley Road: Ionica headquarters building (R H Partnership) map for St John's Innovation Centre: Cowley Road: Ionica headquarters building
Date photograph taken: 24 Mar 2000 (Alternative map: Google map)

Ionica was a company which provided an innovative telephone service for the local loop using fixed radio access. It started life in 1991 in the St John's Innovation Centre. In 1994 it moved next door into its new purpose-built headquarters. In 1997 it was briefly Cambridge's first billion dollar company, with over 1000 employees. In 1998 it went into administration, many would argue unnecessarily.

The building was also innovative in that it uses natural heating and cooling as much as possible, in particular it has six wind-assisted ventilation towers. These work fine until the outside temperature reaches around 27-30 degrees Centigrade, which normally happens for a couple of weeks a year in Cambridge.

After being empty for almost two years the building was occupied in 2000 by another new hi-tech Cambridge company, Zeus, and the building was renamed Zeus House. They too fell on hard times, and vacated the building a few years later.

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