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  • Ryan O'Hare

Search begins for architects to design new Fleming Centre

The Fleming Initiative is calling for designs for its inaugural Centre at St Mary’s Hospital.

A design competition launched by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is calling for architects to design the new Fleming Centre building which will be constructed in Paddington.

The Fleming Centre is at the heart of the global Fleming Initiative, an innovative and collaborative new approach led by the Trust and Imperial College London, with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales as its patron, to tackle anti-microbial resistance (AMR) around the world.

The Centre itself is due to open at St Mary’s hospital in 2028, helping mark the centenary of the discovery of penicillin at the hospital by Sir Alexander Fleming.

Chaired by Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, the Fleming Initiative will help bring together world-class expertise in science, technology, policy and behavioural science, alongside clinical experience.

At the Fleming Centre, scientists will work alongside clinicians, patients, members of the public and policy makers to scope, test and scale solutions to the problems created by drug-resistant infections. The Fleming Centre will be part of a global network of centres in strategic locations around the world, aiming to catalyse worldwide action on AMR.

Professor the Lord Darzi, who is also Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London, said: “The launch of the RIBA design competition brings us one step closer to achieving the Fleming Centre's unique concept of breaking down the barriers between clinicians, scientists, policymakers, and most importantly, the public, in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. The inaugural Centre will be home to the pioneering research and public engagement needed to develop new solutions to help people in the UK, and further afield.”

Future infrastructure

The Centre will also be a key part of the Trust’s Paddington Life Sciences development, which aims to create a thriving ecosystem for life sciences research and innovation in north west London. This is also an integral part of Imperial’s WestTech Corridor, which will position the university at the heart of a thriving, vibrant new ecosystem of a globally competitive scale that is a powerful engine for investment, inclusive economic growth and job creation.

St Mary’s Hospital – along with the Trust’s two other main sites, Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals – are part of the UK’s New Hospital Programme. The Fleming Centre will be the first new building to open on the St Mary’s site in the coming years, as plans for the wider redevelopment of the whole hospital site continue to progress, and it will be an integral part of the new St Mary’s hospital site.

Professor Tim Orchard, Chief Executive of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said: "The launch of the RIBA design competition marks an exciting milestone for the Fleming Centre and St Mary's hospital more widely. This state-of-the-art facility will not only honour the legacy of Alexander Fleming and St Mary’s as the birthplace of penicillin but also spearhead the fight against antimicrobial resistance through groundbreaking research and public engagement.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with visionary architects to create a centre that will inspire and facilitate global change in healthcare. It will also be the first completed building in the redeveloped St Mary’s hospital, demonstrating our vision to protect St Mary’s position as a world-class trauma hospital and a centre for life-saving research.”

Professor Hugh Brady, President of Imperial College London, said: “The Fleming Centre will be a crucial hub, bringing together Imperial’s world-leading researchers with clinical and pharmaceutical experts, and helping us to engage with policymakers and the public about tackling antimicrobial resistance. We are excited about the transformative work we will be able to do in the new building to deal with this huge public health challenge.”

It is proposed that the Fleming Centre is built on the site currently occupied by The Bays buildings to the west of the hospital. These former industrial warehouses were built around 1850 for transport and distribution networks and were incorporated into the hospital in 1983 for office use. The new Fleming Centre will be an integral part of the new St Mary’s hospital site when it is built.


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