Sir Alexander Fleming Building

Foster + Partners, London, 1998


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The prominent glazed service tower reflects a stategy of locating services at the perimeter 

Dennis Gilbert/View, Jame Morris and Nigel Young (website)     Download Original

  • The prominent glazed service tower reflects a stategy of locating services at the perimeter    
  • Fully glazed north façade    
  • Foster’s roofscape seen against Collcutt’s tower    
  • Glazed façade detail from outside    
  • The forum is separated from the entrance concourse below with acoustic glazing    
  • The building has a cast in-situ concrete frame    
  • Ground floor entrance concourse, with glazed ceiling to forum above. Intense colours integrate with the exposed concrete and timber panelling to create a glowing space    
  • Desk spaces for researchers in open galleries are set around three sides of a 20m x 40m atrium. The galleries have glazed balustrades and give views across, offering opportunities for interaction    
  • The fixed furniture provides an ordered framework, keeping papers, files and books under control    
  • The glazed façade from inside    
  • Use of colour    
  • The galleries receive natural light from a series of five large rooflights, each consisting of a vertical band of north-facing glazing and a convex roof which slopes down to meet the next rooflight     
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Fourth floor plan    
  • Section BB    
  • Key cross-section through roof    
  • Detail section through roof light    

Six storey medical research facility with laboratories arranged around the perimeter, and desk spaces for researchers in open galleries set around a central atrium

At the building’s heart is a research forum on five levels where research work not directly associated with the laboratory takes place. It provides an open arena where researchers can meet their colleagues, and forms the hub of the building's primary circulation system. Standard and specialist laboratories are wrapped around the forum, as are undergraduate teaching spaces, administration and a cafe.

The forum widens as it rises, creating open-plan terraces for research students on the second and fourth floors, where the perimeter is lined with study carrels. Sculpted rooflights introduce a combination of north light for optimum working conditions and controlled sunlight to bring sparkle into the building. Fully glazed at its northern end - the site's only open aspect - the forum looks onto the Queen's Lawn and Queen's Tower, the last fragment of the 1890s campus.

The building has a cast in-situ concrete frame with a steel roof structure. Externally, both brick and Portland stone are used to integrate the new building into its context. Internally, timber panels infilling the expressed fair-faced concrete frame are pierced by the windows of offices looking down into the semi-public entrance concourse.


  • Begun: Jan 1996
  • Completed: Sep 1998
  • Floor area: 25,000m2
  • Sectors: Education, Healthcare
  • Total cost: £40M
  • Tender date: Dec 1995
  • Procurement: Construction Management
  • Address: Imperial College Road, London, SW7 1AZ, United Kingdom


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