Breakthrough medical advances are being made every day, and scientists in London’s Francis Crick Institute are busy digging deep into the workings of the human body to bring them to the public as quickly as possible.

Our role was to design a flexible, modular home for them that can be adapted to the future needs of science research. 

Building a lasting legacy for Francis Crick

The ambition was to create a world-leading centre of biomedical research and innovation in the heart of London. Named the Francis Crick Institute in honour of the great British scientist who discovered the DNA double helix structure, the centre needed to possess the same qualities that its namesake did: hardworking, visionary and innovative.

The central London location meant we had to work fast

Speed is of the essence when you’re planning an 85,000m2 building in central London. Before construction on the shell of the building started in June 2011, we developed a procurement route that shortened the time on site by identifying and evaluating the client’s critical success factors against our proposed design.

We looked at every possibility to find the best solution

Our findings gave us a solution that meant basement construction could start ahead of the original programme. It was welcome news that then threw another complexity into the mix: the basement was where the highly sensitive equipment – including five nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers – had to be located to prevent vibrational interference.

We were involved from beginning to end

As well as re-scoping the build programme, we were involved in the centre’s mechanical, electrical and public health engineering from its inception in 2008 until completion in 2015. 

The Crick also called on us for MEP engineering, logistics consultancy, risk-assessment, facilities management consultancy, and security systems design.

The result is a building that works as hard as its inhabitants

Opened in November 2016, the Francis Crick Institute is one of the largest, most sophisticated research facilities of its kind. It’s home to over 1,500 staff – including 1,250 scientists – each working with the aim of making breakthroughs in curing diseases like cancer, neurodegenerative conditions, and heart disease. True to its ambition, the centre’s flexible, modular design means that whatever its scientists want to achieve, the building is fit to respond.