A building that will help to ‘make science happen’

Thomas Cosker, associate at engineering consultancy, Buro Happold, shares insights on designing the London Institute of Medical Sciences’ new laboratory. The consultancy delivered MEP and lab design services, as well as sustainability, civil, structural, acoustic, vibration and fire engineering, to create ‘world-class technical facilities’ that now house over 40 different scientific research group

Great office spaces are more than just the bricks and mortar used to build them. They are built with occupants in mind, to create places people want to work in that encourage collaboration and productivity. A laboratory is no different. Our brief as MEP and lab design consultants for the London Institute of Medical Sciences’ (LMS) new Hammersmith-based home was to create a space that incorporated world-class technical facilities into a building that would maximise the potential of the scientists who work within it. This may seem strange, as we often think of science as a field full of great individuals, but the days of the ‘lone genius’ are long gone. Scientific research is built on effective and constant collaboration. To reflect this, LMS’ new laboratory was designed to celebrate and support truly collaborative team science that recognises that discoveries aren’t made alone. 

Building on a congested hospital site

With these aims in mind, the new 12,500 m2 laboratory will accommodate over 40 research groups for the first time, in a single, ultra-modern space. Until recently, these groups worked in a number of older buildings across Imperial College London’s Hammersmith Hospital campus. This was not conducive to effective collaboration, and so bringing all these groups together under one roof, for the first time, was a key objective of the project. The site itself is congested, with not much room for a new building. As a result the new laboratory is tall, with facilities set across seven floors to accommodate all the scientists and technical equipment required. 

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