Distinctive White City Tower Wins Design Award

Architects' institute praises The Sir Michael Uren Hub

The Sir Michael Uren Hub
The Sir Michael Uren Hub

The Sir Michael Uren Hub, the 13 storey ‘finned’ building in Imperial College’s White City Campus just north of the Westway has won a prestigious London Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects, or RIBA.

The building, housing a state-of-the-art laboratory for biomedical science and engineering research, sits next to the campus’ tallest building, the 35 storey 88 Wood Lane. The hub was made possible with a gift of £40 million from the late Sir Michael Uren.

The RIBA judges said, “Not only was Sir Michael Uren one of the university’s alumni, he also founded a manufacturing company that developed high-quality cement from ground granulated blast furnace slag, a waste product of the steel industry. Therefore, it seems entirely appropriate that the architects incorporated the material, using it for the elegant veil of fins on the façades of this striking new tower.”

The building is on a triangular site which was a challenge for architects Allies and Morrison. The judges said, “The architects’ response is a prominent 13-storey tower screened on its two long sides by the distinctive white precast-concrete fins.

“The building fills the site, maximising the use of available land and presenting a strong frontage to the Westway. “

They also praised the ‘beautifully clear’ internal floorplan, with a vertical plant tower located at the thin end of the triangle and laboratory spaces, which typically use a lot of energy located closest to the tower. Offices and social spaces are further away at the widest end of the triangle with full-height windows offering fantastic views.

And they said, “ This project illustrates a rare and successful synchronicity, with the triumvirate of architect, client and benefactor each having contributed significantly to this beautifully designed and executed building”.

Over the last two years, the hub has been occupied floor by floor and will eventually bring together more than 500 engineers, clinicians and scientists working to develop new and affordable medical technologies.

Billy Choi, Director of Allies and Morrison, said: “We’re delighted that the Sir Michael Uren Hub has won an RIBA London Award, what a fantastic achievement.

“It is hugely fulfilling to see the project playing a part in transforming White City into an innovation district, and even more so to see the fascinating scientific work by the many research groups that now call our building their home.”

The hub was one of three buildings in our borough to win RIBA London Awards, along with office block 234 Hammersmith Road and Fulham’s Sands End Arts and Community Centre, which was also named London Building of the Year.


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June 20, 2022