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Fiona Mckay

On 5 March 2015, Fred Pilbrow of Pilbrow & Partners and Andy Smith, Construction Director, led an informative and inspirational tour of the Francis Crick Institute for the AIA UK chapter, which is currently under construction and in close proximity to St. Pancras station. The design of the world-leading centre for biomedical research was a collaboration between HOK and PLP Architecture while Fred Pilbrow was a design partner at PLP. PLP was invited to collaborate with HOK architects on the development of the design with a particular focus on external massing, public realm design and façade treatment. The building, which was named in honour of British scientist Francis Crick, will serve as a focal point within Camden for the talent and knowledge in the local area with some of London’s leading hospitals and universities nearby. It will also provide scholarships, lab facilities and educational seminars for young students as well as PhD researchers. 

The participants in the tour were able to view several of the labs, which will be fully secured and not open to the public when the building is open later this year. The labs in the main space are located on either side of the central atrium space, which is 40m in height and opens to a public plaza at the main entrance facing St. Pancras. The scientists within these lab areas will enjoy light from all directions and are encouraged to use the centre area as a collaboration space.  The atrium is truly spectacular and the public will be able to enter the main space to experience the grandeur. The AIA UK hosts buildings tours throughout the year to offer architects the opportunity to visit notable buildings in and around London that have particular design interest and integration into the community. The Francis Crick Institute not only stands in the forefront of design, but also in scientific research as it will bring together scientists of all ages and experience levels in order to promote and support experimental and ground-breaking research.

Author: Elizabeth Waters

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