University College London Cancer Institute: Paul O'Gorman Building   London, UK

Enhancing UCL’s national and international reputation for cancer research, this highly transparent and accessible new Cancer Institute for the University is a signature building, designed to attract first-rate study.


Part of the Bloomsbury Conservation Area and adjacent to the medical school housed in a refurbished Grade II listed building by Paul Waterhouse, the new postgraduate facility is one of the largest biomedical resources in Europe.

Accommodating 350 scientists in 4.500 sq m of state-of-the-art laboratories, the institute is set over five floors and is proximate to key hospitals and UCL research centres. Entry to the project is through a spacious, light-filled void between the classical, red brick medical school and the new institute, clad with its rhythmic, undulating terracotta louvres.

Internally, the ambition to lead research discoveries is reflected in a new approach to organising laboratories. Practical lab work is located in the core of the building, separate from write-up areas, to create distinct spaces for analysing and sharing information.

The uppermost level includes a balcony area that offers spectacular views to London’s rooftops. Both outward looking and inwardly reflective, the facility opens up what is often an opaque, private area of study.

The main entrance houses a highly engineered staircase that provides the main circulation core and an architectural focal point. The staircase itself consists of cast stainless steel treads cantilevered from a structural spine of pre-cast concrete to create a dramatic feature.

London, UK

Project Type
Education →

University College London

10,500 sq m



Mark Humphreys