Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh attend official opening of the Francis Crick Institute

On Wednesday 9 November, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh were welcomed to the Francis Crick Institute to officially open the new building.

Completed in summer of 2016, the Francis Crick Institute is a 980,000 sq. ft. biomedical research facility bringing together 1,250 scientists from a wide range of disciplines under one roof to analyse the biology underpinning human health and diseases.

Designed by HOK with PLP Architecture, the eight-storey building is arranged as four “laboratory neighbourhoods” with multiple communal breakout spaces arranged around two intersecting atria that encourage interdisciplinary collaboration.

The building has been designed around the concept of openness and collaboration. Interlinked floor plates and bridges increase the opportunity for interaction between departments.

Paul Nurse, director of the Crick, former president of the Royal Society and Nobel laureate, said:

“It was a delight to welcome the Queen to our new building for the Francis Crick Institute and show her some of the science that we are carrying out to understand the human body better in health and disease.”

He added:

“As part of the visit, she sequenced my genome and we’ll find out the results in the coming weeks. In our normal work at the Crick, we use this type of advanced sequencing to understand more about genetic influences on disease.”

The Francis Crick Institute is the result of a unique initiative supported by six founding partners: the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, Wellcome, UCL (University College London), Imperial College London and King’s College London.

AKT II provided structural engineering for the building, Laing O’Rourke was responsible for the design and engineering completion of the Crick, Turner & Townsend provided cost consultancy on the project, and Cordless Consultants provided IT and AV Consultancy.

Both the Project Management and Building Services design for the project were provided by Arup. The Project Management team engaged with the Crick’s scientists whilst working with designers and the contractor, to deliver this exceptional building.

Arup’s engineering design team had a unique insight into how the complex requirements of modern science would manifest in this elegant and sophisticated building. The challenge was to harmonise various demands, ensuring efficiencies throughout the engineering design process.