Architect transforms 1930s charity headquarters into science gallery and library

Architect Hopkins Architects’ refurbishment of the Wellcome Trust headquarters on Euston Road opens to the public today. The £30m scheme has transformed the building, originally completed in the 1930s, into a major new visitor centre, incorporating a gallery, library, bookshop and a café.

The nine-story building houses more than 1,300 exhibits across three galleries. Examples of the works on display include works by Anthony Gormley, Leornadi da Vinci, Andy Warhol, Marc Quinn and Martin Parr.

Exhibits include Aztec sacrificial knives, 19th century sex aids, amputation saws, Nelson’s razor and a DNA-sequencing robot. One of the galleries, which houses The Heart exhibition, will also be shortly receiving the old heart of a transplant patient Jennifer Sutton as one of the exhibits.

The neoclassical building was originally designed by architect Septimus Warwick. Hopkins has redesigned and enlarged the ground floor windows and the entrance of the building and has created “a light, modern, airy and contemporary space whilst also linking back to Warwick’s original architecture and design” according to the Trust.

Wellcome Trust director Clare Matterson said the scheme was driven by the original vision for the building by Wellcome founder Sir Henry Wellcome, who first commissioned the building in 1932.

The project team on the scheme included contractor John Sisk, building services engineer Cundall, M&E engineer Dome Consulting and structural engineer PGC-Roessler Partnership.