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16 December 2015

London’s Francis Crick Institute Designed to Encourage ‘Collaborative Spirit’

Francis Crick Insititue

Designed by lead architect HOK with PLP, the biomedical and translational research center promotes collaboration among multidisciplinary researchers and sets the stage to attract top scientific talent.

World Architecture News explores the design of the Francis Crick Institute, which is being developed by UK’s three largest funders of biomedical research (the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust) and three of its leading universities (University College London, Imperial College London and King’s College London).

“Large, cantilevered bay windows and tall glass atria reduce the building’s impact at street level and bring natural light into workspaces and public areas. To reduce its visible mass, four levels are below ground while the curved roof presents a gentle face to the community.

“The design encourages collaboration and interaction among researchers with four ‘laboratory neighbourhoods’ connected by two atria. The atria bring daylight into all of the labs and other spaces while enhancing visibility. Glass walls allow for views into labs, promoting transparency and openness. Unless specific functions require closed walls, lab neighbourhoods are open to encourage interaction.

Francis Crick Institute Interior

“Commenting on the project design principal at HOK, Larry Malcic, said: ‘When it is complete this will be the largest research facility of its kind in Europe. Because science is constantly changing, a much more collaborative spirit is called for and advances are made by groups of people getting together.

“‘The building has a tremendous transparency and puts science on display which helps to break down the ominous atmosphere that sometimes surrounds science in the nuclear age. The collaborative and cooperative spirit will aid new discoveries. Having the Eurostar station opposite is also a big factor and it will help to make the facility truly international.’”

David King, technical principal and director of project delivery at HOK, said: ‘The building will contain four science neighbourhoods with a central atrium acting as a meeting place. Because the atrium acts as a crossing point it will facilitate ad hoc collaboration. With six partners looking at new ways of working, the project has developed as it has gone along.’”

World Architecture News