Residents of Bloomsbury, Kings Cross and surrounds may be aware of the construction site now underway behind the British Library, and may even know that, when completed, the buildings will house medical and scientific research institutes and laboratories. But what exactly is it, and what will it all look like in the end?
Members of the public can now find out more about the project, and see a scale model of what the completed site will look like, at the Visitor Centre on the Ossulston St side of the site.
The complex, initially called the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), has been renamed The Francis Crick Institute in honour of English scientist Francis Crick (1916 – 2004), best-known as the co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA, along with American scientist James Watson (b. 1928). The pair shared the 1962 Nobel Prize with Maurice Wilkins (1916 – 2004) for their discovery.
The Francis Crick Institute will house branches of the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, and University College London (UCL). These organisations have pledged a total of £650 million towards the creation of the Institute. Fruit flies, nematode worms, fish, rats and mice will be subject to research and experimentation on-site, but no work will be done with primates.
According to the Institute’s website, 1,500 staff will be employed (1,250 of them scientists), and the operating budget will be above £100 million, promising a great boost to the local economy. Fifty per cent of outreach and educational activities will be aimed at the local population and local schools.
PLP Architecture and HOK are responsible for the green design of the site and its buildings, and both firms incorporated feedback from community consultation in their work. Read more about the architecture of the site here. Read more about the building’s green credentials here.
A 450-seat lecture theatre (the orange-roofed building) will host conferences and other events, while smaller teaching rooms will host seminars and more intimate functions.
The Francis Crick Institute is scheduled to open in 2015. The Visitor Centre is open Tuesdays 1pm – 5pm, and Thursdays 3pm – 7pm. For more visitor information, click here.