Bloomsbury Research Institute achieves Planning



Bloomsbury Research Institute

After an hour’s deliberation, Camden Council Planning Committee unanimously approved BMJ Architects proposals for the new 5,500sqm Bloomsbury Research Institute Building.

The Bloomsbury Research Institute is a joint initiative between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and UCL. The Institute will lead global efforts to find new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics to tackle infectious disease such as TB, malaria and HIV, address antibiotic resistance, and combat new and emerging viruses - infectious diseases that remain the leading cause of child and adolescent deaths, and one of the leading causes of death and disease in adults.

This new laboratory building will provide the necessary research facilities to deliver on these objectives, build on the world-class research and expertise which UCL and the School and their partners have fostered, and will significantly enhance scientific capability in the UK.

BMJ Architects successfully made the case for inserting an Institutional Building of this size into the urban grain of Bloomsbury’s terraces, squares and mews on the basis that reconciling the spatial requirements for world class science to those necessary for enhancing and preserving the setting of the heritage assets and neighbours had been done by paying especially sensitive consideration to the neighbouring listed buildings and Conservation Area as well as the proximity of the neighbours.


BMJ adopted a contemporary yet contextual approach to the design utilising crafted standing seam cladding in brass, a naturally patinating, high quality and durable material sensitive to the heritage context.  This was paired with beautifully landscaped roof terraces to provide an enhanced outlook for the neighbours.  

The terraces themselves create deep set backs at every storey allowing daylight and sunlight to be enjoyed by the neighbours and the building itself is sunk into the ground to create a double basement ideal for accommodating scientific instrumentation.

A feature of the facade is the incorporation of external curved privacy screens to prevent overlooking the immediate neighbouring windows whilst allowing oblique views out across the landscaped roof terraces.  Artwork reflecting the historical achievements of the Institute’s partners will be perforated into the screens to allow a degree of permeability for daylight into the building.

The historical lineage of the Institute will be further showcased, along with the latest cutting edge research, in the exhibition gallery located at its main entrance as part of the Institutes outreach programme to the local community.