Located in the heart of London, the Francis Crick Institute, a world class interdisciplinary medical research institute designed by lead architect HOK (with sub-consultant PLP), topped out yesterday. The ceremony, which coincided with the publication of the Crick’s scientific strategy, was attended by Chief Executives from the Crick’s partners, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP; the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP; and Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Health.
A landmark partnership between 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: UCL; Imperial College London and King’s College London, the institute will combine specialist knowledge, expertise and resources from each of these organisations to encourage ground-breaking research. Through exceptional co-operation, the institute will tackle major scientific problems and generate solutions to the emerging health challenges of the 21st century. It will carry out discovery biomedical research to help better understand why disease develops and to find new ways to diagnose, prevent and treat a range of illnesses - such as cancer, heart disease and stroke, infections and neurodegenerative diseases.
As lead architect for the Francis Crick Institute, HOK was tasked with creating a world class, state-of-the-art scientific facility that would encourage collaboration and innovation through flexible and forward thinking design. The interior of the building balances the need to provide formal research areas with a mix of informal break out areas designed to draw people from different organisations together. An auditorium, exhibition area and teaching lab located adjacent the main entrance, underline the Crick’s fundamental ethos of collaboration, communication and community engagement, demystifying and opening up the space to the local community and visitors.
The exterior of the building provides strong links between the new institute and the historic buildings in the local area. Both the masonry and the distinctive vaulted roof recall features of the adjacent St Pancras International station, whilst the large cantilevered bay windows along with tall glass atria reduce the impact of the building at street level and maintain natural light in both work and public areas. The main eastern entrance, opposite St Pancras International, faces a new public square on Midland Road, whilst at the western side of the building, a public garden framed by trees and benches will be created.
HOK Director David King commented: “Today marks an exciting milestone for HOK and the Francis Crick Institute. The Crick, a world-class facility based right here in London, will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of biomedical research. Its success relies on collaboration and at HOK we have combined our proven track record in designing complex, state-of-the-art scientific research facilities, with our expertise in designing the very best in flexible, forward thinking interiors. The result will be a space that not only allows, but actively encourages, the sharing of knowledge and collaboration, distinguishing the Crick from other facilities and helping to attract some of the world’s best scientific talent to our Capital.”