The Foundation for Liver Research commissioned their new Institute of Hepatology building on a site adjacent to existing medical research facilities on the King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill Campus in London.
Led by Professor Roger Williams CBE, since 1973, the Foundation for Liver Research has supported research programmes into liver disease and acute liver failure, including much pioneering work into liver transplantation. The building has been entirely funded through charitable donations.
The new 1000m2 facility, over three floors, provides open plan CAT 2 laboratories with adjacent shared write-up areas, achieving spatial efficiency and encouraging interaction and engagement between the individual research groups. The research accommodation also includes small specialist labs such as a CAT 3 facility, radioactive lab, and shared equipment room.
The ground floor layout includes a flexible suite of rooms allowing the dissemination of research to the scientific community through seminars, presentations and meetings.
Internally, the entrance facilities are linked to the circulation on the upper floors by a striking timber lined, top-lit, helical staircase that sets the scene by encouraging and celebrating vertical movement between the teams.
The generous glazing and sense of transparency throughout the building maximises the daylight and encourages a sense of community.
Externally the building faces in two directions, both forming part of the streetscape of Coldharbour Lane to the north and addressing the research campus to the south.
The scheme was designed following some fundamental tenets of sustainable construction, but taking into account its use and its location. So it has a concrete frame with a maximum percentage of recycled aggregate. It’s clad in brick, one of the lowest embodied energy materials available given its longevity. Orientation was dictated by the tight sight but daylight (and views) have been maximised, to minimise the reliance on electric lighting. Lighting which was provided was low energy. Materials throughout were selected for their low toxicity and recyclability. More ‘active’ measures included an installation of photovoltaic panels and air heat exchangers at roof level, and a green roofed cycle store to the rear. The new development also benefited from sharing existing utilities, and FM infrastructure from the adjacent campus, avoiding the need for duplication of these within this scheme.
Location King's College Hospital, London
Photographer Jack Hobhouse