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15 February 2016

Nature Explores Design of Francis Crick Institute, London’s Collaborative Super Lab

Francis Crick Insititue

Design elements of the Francis Crick Institute support the biomedical and translational research center’s mantra of “discovery without boundaries.”

Nature profiles the collaborative environment that seeks to attract top scientific talent to the institute, which will open later this year and is being developed by the 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).

“Like many twenty-first-century labs, the Crick is open-plan. Few walls separate lab benches in each of its four quadrants, and members of different groups work in view of one another, if not shoulder to shoulder. In theory, these spaces should facilitate collaboration and allow flexibility as groups swell, shrink and shift their focus.”

biomedical and translational research centers

“This quest for openness and collaboration goes even further at the Crick. Group meeting areas, tea-and-coffee-making facilities and even solitary study desks are located in the centre of each floor. Glass walls and an open atrium make it possible to see colleagues on different floors across the building. Even the cafeteria is intentionally small to foster chance encounters.”

Francis Crick Institute Interior

“The building’s architects, HOK, were also tasked with showing the Crick researchers to the public. Passers-by will be able to see into the building, and those with half an hour to spare are encouraged to pop into the public exhibition and engagement spaces just inside its cathedral-like entrance.”