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12 October 2016

FX Magazine Showcases ‘Mind-Blowing’ New Francis Crick Institute

Francis Crick Institute_Credit Laing ORourkeImage courtesy of Laing O’Rourke

‘It’s probably no exaggeration to say that the new Francis Crick Institute Lab is mind-blowing,’ writes FX Editor Theresa Dowling about the newly opened building in central London. ‘This is a revolutionary concept of combining so many serious scientists under one roof.’

“The design, construction and commissioning of the 170m-long building—with almost 93,000 sq. m. of floor space over 12 floors—has been a technically challenging undertaking and an engineering project in itself.”

“It required very high specifications to be met for the most sensitive and advanced research equipment to be used, such as high vibration resistance, close temperature control, minimization of electromagnetic interference and high rates of air change.”

“The scale of the finished building is immense in every way. It features 100km of mains power cables, 17,000 light fixtures, 9,000 tons of steel, 65,000 cubic meters of concrete, and the labs themselves have been fitted out with benching that would stretch to over 4km.

biomedical and translational research centers

“The aim of HOK’s team was to create a design that sparked not only opportunities for interaction but also an environment that actively promotes integrated and collaborative research.”

Andy Warner Lacey, HOK’s interior design sector leader, says: ‘The notion of a collaborative approach in a lab building is a rarity. Typically, post-doctoral teams will work on specific experiments with their principal investigator (PI) with little external interaction. The groundbreaking approach being taken by the Crick is one whereby teams will have primary dedicated laboratories where experimental work of the individual teams will take place.’”

“Achieving a successful outcome on a project of this scale involves getting things right throughout numerous key stages, but none as important as the briefing phase, according to David King, director and senior vice president at HOK. ‘A key challenge for the Crick was to promote a new method and culture of working that would encourage collaboration across all sectors. The Crick’s six partners had diverse protocols and procedures, often different funding methods and organizational structures.’”

Francis Crick Institute_ Credit Wellcome TrustImage courtesy of Wellcome Trust

“Given the fast-moving nature of the work that will take place in the building in the decades ahead, perhaps one of the greatest design challenges was to ensure that it is future-proofed to meet these evolving needs. It is an innovative building intended to pave the way for an exciting future for biomedical research in the UK. David Roblin, chief operating officer and director of scientific translation at the Institute, says: ‘It is tremendous to have reached the point when science is beginning in our glorious new building. It’s been an achievement of many people—in the design, construction, fit-out and project management of moving in people, equipment and experiments.’”

FX