Royal College of Physicians at the Spine


The northern home of the Royal College of Physicians takes its name from a striking staircase on its north elevation that resembles human vertebrae. The £35m building promotes mental and physical wellbeing and is among the first to achieve WELL Platinum and BREEAM Outstanding. The bottom three and top four storeys house a 70,000 sq ft centre of clinical excellence, with the remaining seven floors providing contemporary workspaces for the health, science and education sectors.

A timber curtain wall reconnects people with nature and a unique ceramic frit facade, complete with 23 million unique voronoi polygons mimics human skin and reacts to the local environment to control noise and glare. The lighting design creates an intimate and diverse welcoming, vibrant environment. The entrance atrium is split over two floors connected by a feature ‘college steps’. Flooded with natural light during the day, in the evenings the space celebrates key architectural elements. The green wall is vertically washed with light with the wooden balustrade and stairs highlighted with integral lighting. Direct downlighting is located within the slatted ceilings while integral lighting to planter bases creates pools of horizontal light. A feature pendant hangs over the reception desk, augmented with task lighting. In the exhibition area, linear down lights are located within the soffit slats, with accent illumination for exhibits from track mounted adjustable spots. The trabecular finish of the concrete columns is accentuated with down illumination and multiple layers of light to the steps enable a variety of different lighting scenes.