The new London headquarters for the Royal College of Pathologists is a flexible, environmentally efficient building. It will enable the College to continue to represent its growing international membership, advance its valuable research and provide public education services and programming.
Located in the rapidly-changing area of Aldgate on the city’s eastern fringes, the seven-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.
The design of the facades reflects the many uses contained within the building which include major conference and meeting rooms, offices and overnight accommodation for members. Externally, this is expressed with brick piers and deep-set windows. Legibility is maintained in the facade by using concrete string courses at each floor level and by varying the scale of the brick piers at ground level to reflect the double-height entrance space that sits behind them. The sixth-floor pavilion is stepped back from the rest of the building and clad in zinc to clearly differentiate it from the floors below.
Internally, the many types of spaces are unified by the use of exposed coffered concrete slabs throughout. With their integrated lighting, they give a strong visual character to the virtually column-free floors, and form a key part of the building’s passive cooling strategy. Set-backs on first, third and fourth floors create connecting double and triple-height volumes inside the building and allow daylight to penetrate deep into the site.
This is Bennetts Associates’ third and largest project for the Royal College of Pathologists, over 20 years after the practice worked on the refurbishment of its previous HQ, Two Carlton House Terrace.