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Queen Mary University

Will Alsop – aLL Design

The story of the Blizard Building started in 2001 when laboratory specialists AMEC decided to bid for the contract to build new facilities for London’s Queen Mary University. The client wanted a unique, arresting building that would attract scientists. Colin Gilmore-Merchant, then AMEC project manager, decided to put the project to Will Alsop. The client also wanted a building that would facilitate work-sharing and staff flexibility. As research premises must have tight security, however, the only way to meet the brief was to isolate the laboratories from the rest of the public-use building. Which meant putting them on one level - in this case, a lower ground floor occupying the whole ground plan. To overcome the feeling of being underground, a huge glass pavilion was built over approximately half the laboratory area. In addition, strips of screenprinted structural glass were inserted...

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