UCL’s Courtauld Building

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BMJ Architects secures planning

A significant milestone was reached in January this year, when BMJ Architects obtained planning permission on UCL’s Courtauld Building in London, for a major refurbishment and modernisation to accommodate the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) prestigious MRC Prion Unit.  The Courtauld Building was constructed in 1926 as a purpose-built laboratory building and continued to service pioneering scientific research until 2007.  This project will bring life to a building that has been unoccupied for almost 10 years whilst uplifting the immediate area as a result.

The team at BMJ Architects has created a design that will provide a more efficient building, not only in terms of energy consumption but also in terms of useable collaboration and advanced research space.  The project is not without its challenges, one of which is logistics with the building occupying a tight city centre site on the corners of Cleveland, Foley and Riding House Street in the London Borough of Westminster.

The external elements of this project will include replacing the rear 1980’s façade, the provision of a new main entrance, whilst relocating it to Cleveland Street, and the renewal of the roof and 5th floor mansard roof arrangement.


The reconstruction of an infill area to the rear of the elevation is also required where new primary circulation / stair cores are proposed. The removal of the existing stair cores opens up the footplate of the building creating a more flexible open plan area.

Internally accommodation includes a new reception and office spaces, new collaboration and flexible work space, new research laboratories and support rooms for microscopes and freezers with the lift shafts and stairwell being repositioned to create a more open plan and efficient floorplate to better serve the research needs.

The team at BMJ Architects will take the project through to completion in November 2016.  Enabling Works are currently ongoing with the Main Works contract currently out to tender with construction due to start in July 2015.

The project is targeting BREEAM Excellent.

If you would like to see more about this project and other projects at UCL please click here