Building Study: Royal College of Pathologists, London, by Bennetts Associates


The architect had the rare opportunity to tackle a venerable typology - and has produced a virtuoso building, says Ike Ijeh

Central London is awash with royal colleges aligned to what seems like every professional institution under the sun. In fact, they are such a familiar background component of the city’s urban fabric that thought is rarely spared for what a royal college is and what exactly it does. But these are questions that architect Bennetts Associates has been forced to address in its latest project, the new £44m home of the Royal College of Pathologists in Aldgate on the eastern fringes of central London. 

Perhaps to the disappointment of a TV generation reared on CSI-style forensics, pathology has relatively little to do with dead bodies. Of the Royal College of Pathologists’ 11,500 members, only 72 are forensic pathologists. The vast majority of members spend their time with the living researching specialisms such as disease control, clinical diagnoses, blood transfusions, microbiology and diabetes. 

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