Developed with input from scientists, local residents and community groups, the building supports the goals of the institute and promotes public engagement.
Architecturally, there are strong links between the new institute and the historic buildings in the local area. Both the masonry and the distinctive vaulted steel roof recall features of the adjacent St Pancras International station.
The two-storey vaulted roof is arranged into two shells. As well as creating an iconic shape, this conceals the heating and cooling units and incorporates solar panels. We also have wild roof gardens, and bat boxes to attract wildlife.
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. A third of the building is below ground to reduce its visible mass.
Within the building, the laboratories are arranged over four floors. A typical floor consists of four interconnected blocks or ‘neighbourhoods’ of laboratories which bring together staff working in different fields. The labs themselves are designed to be adapted as new scientific opportunities emerge in the future.
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Designed to be open
The four blocks of labs are arranged around and connected by a central, light-filled atrium, which provides views and walking routes across the building. It is here that each floor has a collaboration space, an area set aside for informal conversations, meetings and breaks from the lab.
The walls to the labs are glass, with desks arranged outside the labs and open to the institute. There are also no walls between research groups, and researchers from different groups share some equipment. This means that researchers can interact freely, and the space can be used flexibly in the future: one research group can grow by taking over neighbouring space from a smaller group.
These features make serendipitous meetings between researchers from different groups and disciplines more likely to happen than more traditional, closed spaces. The aim is that this, along with so many scientists from different research areas working together under one roof, will catalyse scientific discovery.
Our science technology platforms – which provide specialist expertise and equipment – are dotted around the building, ensuring that people move around to use them.
Building images galler
The building in numbers
‘Excellent’ environmental sustainability
Our building received an excellent BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating in 2017. BREEAM is the world's leading sustainability assessment tool for planning, infrastructure and building projects.Find out more