Case Study - Imperial College Molecular Sciences Research Hub, London, UK

Project data

  • Customer
  • Imperial College London
  • Value
  • £61m
  • Area
  • 25,000sq m
  • Form of contract
  • NEC 3 form of contract
  • Completion date
  • Summer 2018


We have delivered a state-of-the-art design and build project for the new home of Imperial College London’s world-renowned Department of Chemistry. The department will occupy the Campus’s new Molecular Sciences Research Hub, a nine-storey, circa 25,000 sq. metre structure. The flagship facility is set to encourage entrepreneurial thinking and help turn scientific discoveries into commercial products and services, that can be used to combat common challenges in energy, healthcare and sustainability.

The project

The building was originally designed as flexible office space, which ISG transformed into highly technical laboratory facilities. Open-plan laboratories occupy floors one to six, requiring the installation of 333 fume cupboards – one of Europe’s most densely packed installations. The building’s two basement levels feature specialist laboratory space and a high-specification 242-seat lecture theatre where students can watch 3D projections of live chemical experiments. 

Significant structural reinforcement was required at basement level to enable ISG to install an advanced Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) suite, as well as a suite of laser and low electric noise laboratories.  

Working collaboratively to create highly specialist areas   

The shallow ceiling voids – measuring less than one metre tall – and lack of service risers, also raised coordination issues for the vast amounts of ventilation ductwork and cables required. This was overcome using innovative 3D modelling techniques, which combined new cloud data and architectural drawings to improve co-ordination and resolve spatial fit issues. 

Bespoke and innovative design solutions were developed in collaboration with the Imperial College users and safety department for specialist areas such as the High-Pressure Reactor Suite and Nanomaterials laboratories. 

Converting commercial office into world-class laboratories  

The project builds on ISG’s extensive experience delivering and repurposing commercial office space into world-class laboratories and research and development facilities.  This is the latest in a legacy of over 30 projects successfully delivered for Imperial College London, from flagship new build and complex refurbishment schemes to smaller scale fit outs and individual laboratory projects.



ISG worked within the limits of the existing structure, minimising alterations to reduce disruption and improve sustainability. In combination with energy-efficient heating, lighting and ventilation systems, the project has achieved a BREEAM Excellent environmental performance rating.


Lee Hutchinson - ISG
  • Lee Hutchinson
  • Managing Director, Science and Health projects