Project Description

A world-class research facility housing the Institute of Immunity and Transplantation. The building comprises laboratories, microscopy suites and freezer stores, offices, meeting and collaboration areas and a ‘patient hotel’. The seven-storey structure comprises a five-storey, beautifully detailed, exposed concrete frame with a two-storey steel frame above. The concrete helps achieve the exceptionally tight vibration requirements, with the steel frame minimising the construction depth and complying with the planning heights.

Judge’s comments

A highly competent project, expertly overcoming all the challenges of a complex medical building adjacent to a functioning hospital in a congested inner London area and on a 10m slope. Archive drawings were used to generate 3D models of the below ground obstructions.

A concrete frame was selected as a best fit for the building structure. This met the desire for an exposed structure, beautifully detailed, whilst also addressing the need to control vibration for the sensitive equipment housed in the labs and achieve thermal mass.

Embodied carbon was considered as a design constraint and the structural engineer influenced the client brief in significant ways to maximise the sustainability. This included eliminating transfer structures; reconsidering vibration criteria; structurally influenced reduced finishes and utilisation of thermal mass.

Project overview

Structural Designer

  • Conceptual Design: BDP, Technical Design: Heyne Tillett Steel

Client Name

  • The Royal Free Charity, Royal Free London NHS Trust and UCL


  • London, UK


  • Hopkins Architects

Principal Contractor

  • Willmott Dixon

Key Contractors

  • Heyne Tillett Steel – Design & Build C&S Engineers

    BDP – M&E Engineering, Lighting Design, Acoustics and BREEAM Assesor

    Abell Nepp Architects – Lab Architect

    Buro Four – Project Manager/Employer's Agent

    Aecom – Cost Consultant

    BMJ Architects – Design & Build Architects

    T Clarke – M&E Design & Build Sub-contractor

    Buro Happold – Fire Engineers

Year Submitted

  • 2022

Key attributes

  • Process, People