Builders hand over keys to new Royal Free Pears Building
- Credit: Royal Free Charity
The Royal Free Charity has finally got the keys to its flagship new Pears Building.
The £60m building in the grounds of the Royal Free Hospital itself will become the charity's new home – and it will also host the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation (IIT).
The building will be able to accommodate up to 200 researchers looking for cures and new treatments for health issues including type 1 diabetes, cancer and organ rejection after a transplant.
It will have a "community cafe" designed to ensure local people are able to learn about the research taking place in Hampstead.
The building has been built in collaboration by the Roya Free NHS Trust, the Royal Free Charity and UCL. Part of its purpose it to make it easy for researchers, clinicians and the public to work together, including by making it easier for clinical trials to take place.
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Professor Hans Stauss, director of the IIT, said: “In the Pears Building we have a world class laboratory research facility and a beautiful space designed to facilitate a unique partnership between scientist and clinician.
"This will enable us to convert discoveries made in the laboratory into cures and treatments more quickly."
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Prof Stauss said the pandemic had "reinforced the importance of such work" and that moving into the new building will allow the IIT to expand.
Jon Spiers, chief executive of the RFC, said: “This stunning new building marks a major leap forward for research, treatment and care in north London."
He added: “None of this would have been possible without the incredible generosity of a number of visionary philanthropists, including the Pears Foundation, who have supported the project from the outset.”
Caroline Clarke, Royal Free NHS Trust group chief exec, said. “Our expansion of the institute will give many more of our patients the opportunity to take part in ground-breaking research."
She continued: "The new centre will play its part in crucial research into Covid-19, helping the international effort to tackle this devastating virus."
The building was designed by Hopkins architects and built by Wilmott Dixon.
It was due to be completed in November 2020, but was delayed by the pandemic.
The Rosslyn Hill building, initially slated to cost £42m, was given the final go-ahead by Camden planners in 2018.
The scheme had been controversial, with campaigners concerned about issues including the impact on nearby St Stephen's Church and Hampstead Hill School.