Royal College of Pathologists
The Royal College of Pathologists has relocated to a new building designed by Bennetts Associates. The completion of the 4,500m2 building on Alie Street in East London marks the final step in the College’s move from a traditional Grade I listed building in St James to contemporary purpose-built premises.
The design of the new building addresses the college’s mission to advance the science and practice of pathology and to better serve its membership.
The brief given to Bennetts Associates was to build a hybrid building reflecting the educational, social, workplace and residential uses of a Royal College. It’s flexible as well as environmentally efficient.
The new building is designed to accommodate the college’s changing space requirements in the coming decades and help it meet its strategic development objectives, providing a multitude of flexible educational, workplace, social spaces, meeting and working areas for visiting members. The social areas, staff offices and education spaces reference the college’s history and look to its future. Rob Bearyman, Associate Director of Bennetts Associate said: “This project challenged us to think about what a contemporary Royal College should be like. From the outset we knew it would have to be a substantial building worthy of the College’s past, but equally important was the need to create an inclusive and welcoming place for people to share ideas about the future.”
The generous and easily adaptable event spaces will accommodate large conferences, dinners, receptions and exhibitions, helping the organisation to host guests from the UK and abroad. The move to 6 Alie Street also allows the College to market its conference and event facilities to external clients, making the college’s reach global.
As a key feature of the college, the building’s sixth floor steps back creating an open-plan pavilion with panoramic views over London. This large double height reception space can be used for hosting public exhibitions and events whilst the full height windows at ground floor level create transparency and a sense of openness.
Designed and built to last, the building features enduring and timeless materials:
- The meticulously crafted concrete frame unifies the building and integrates structure, services and lighting whilst the brickwork cladding stitches the spaces together.
- The structure features large spans and few columns for built-inflexibility, while a variety of materials and techniques add texture to the internal spaces.
- Board-marked concrete, coffered concrete soffits and waxed mild steel staircases are complemented by rich walnut timber panelling and perforated brick walls.
- Environmental efficiency plays a key role in the design- with exposed coffered concrete slabs used throughout the building to form part of the passive cooling strategy. By increasing the surface area of thermally active concrete, the architects have been able to significantly improve the environmental efficiency of the building.
- The Royal College boasts excellent natural daylight provided by the large atrium that brings light into the deeper plan office spaces, and the core set to one side to provide optimum daylight for a site constrained by party walls on either side.
Located in the rapidly-changing area of Aldgate on the city’s eastern fringes, the eight-storey building replaces an existing office block and represents the final phase in the College’s relocation from its former home in the West End.
About Bennetts Associates
Bennetts Associates has previously restored the Regency interiors of the College’s Carlton House Terrace headquarters in 1993 and in 2003 completed a new education centre within the previously unused basement. Bennetts Associates also completed the Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ headquarters in 2015 and is currently working on the new headquarters for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.