The Francis Crick Institute

The Francis Crick Institute The Francis Crick Institute, the new national centre for Biomedical Research, is the result of a unique collaboration between four of the world’s most influential scientific organisations: the Medical Research Council; Cancer Research UK; the Wellcome Trust and University College London. The building, designed by HOK in collaboration with PLP Architecture, will accommodate 1250 researchers on a site set between the British Library and the new St Pancras International Station. The scale of the building is key to its future success, bringing a critical mass of researchers across a range of scientific disciplines together to foster innovation and invention. Architecturally this presents two challenges: externally the building needs to sensitively enhance its historic context and, internally it must create a stimulating well-scaled working environment. In response, the building presents a clear and legible expression of its internal organization, with a generously scaled transverse atrium bringing light and views into the heart of the building. Public elements for the programme, which are unusual for a building of this type, activate the ground floor and are visible from the St Pancras approach. Four quadrants of laboratory space form the main terracotta-clad body of the building whilst the plant is set back in a recessed roof volume. In local views, the roof recedes, reducing the scale of the building, whereas on the skyline its gently vaulted profile creates a strong identity appropriate for its civic status. Internally, a sequence of interlocked double height rooms set within the transverse atria provides a variety of spaces for collaboration and relaxation. Their rich natural material palette contrasts with the more neutral environment of the research laboratories.

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