Architect beats NBBJ and Rafael Viñoly to design UK centre for Medical Research and Innovation

HOK has beaten rivals NBBJ and Rafael Viñoly to win the design contract for the largest medical research centre in the UK.

The architect was named preferred bidder yesterday to draw up plans for the controversial £500m UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI).

Also named on the building's team were project manager Arup, structural engineer Adams Kara Taylor and cost manager Turner & Townsend.

The super-laboratory, which will be built behind the British Library at King's Cross, will act as a hub for the research of diseases such as cancer, malaria and influenza. It is backed by a consortium of partners including the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and University College London.

But the building hit the headlines when locals claimed it would become a terrorist target if dangerous viruses were held at the facility. Claims that viruses such as ebola and SARS would be studied at the UKCMRI have been dismissed by the project's backers.

Andrew Barraclough, director at HOK, said: “This facility has the potential to have an extraordinary impact on the wellbeing of our global population. Our goal is to create an intelligent and memorable building - one which works, and delivers the benefits of research and innovation to the patient.”

HOK was shortlisted alongside NBBJ and Rafael Viñoly from a longlist that included Hopkins, Grimshaw, RMJM and Sheppard Robson.