The Royal College of Pathologists is an example of a new generation of ‘Knowledge Buildings’ which are helping shape the future of some of the UK’s leading institutions. Knowledge buildings contain a flexible hybrid of workplace, social and educational functions and connect them in a way which is designed to bring people together to share ideas and experience.
The new 4,500 sqm building in Aldgate marks the College’s move from traditional Grade I listed building in St James to contemporary purpose-built premises. The new base accommodates their changing space requirements for coming decades, and enables its strategic development objectives to provide a multitude of adaptable educational, workplace, meeting and social spaces for visiting and local members. Generous, easily adaptable event spaces facilitate large conferences, dinners, receptions and exhibitions, helping the organisation to host guests from the UK and abroad.
The featured materials and artefacts reflect the character of the Royal College with spaces that reference its history and look to its future. As a key feature, the building’s sixth floor steps back, creating an open-plan pavilion with panoramic views over London. The large double height reception space can host public exhibitions and events while the full height windows at ground floor level create transparency and a sense of openness for the public.
Enduring and timeless materials ensure the design is built to last: the meticulously crafted concrete frame unifies the building and integrates structure, services and lighting. The brickwork cladding present in the grand atria, stitches the spaces together. The structure features large spans and few columns for built-in flexibility, while a variety of materials and techniques add texture to the interiors. Board-marked concrete, coffered concrete soffits and waxed mild steel staircases are complemented by rich walnut timber panelling and perforated brick walls.