New London Architecture


Planning Granted

A radical approach to sight-related medicine, Oriel aims to drive innovation, promote inter-disciplinary collaboration to speed up the translation of research into treatment to improve people’s sight.

Oriel is a joint initiative between Moorfields Eye Hospital, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Charity, bringing together world-leading eye care, research and education under one roof. A radical approach to the integration of sight related care, research and education, the project’s aims include driving innovation and speeding up the translation of research findings into treatment. The vision is to create an environment for innovation to flourish, inspiring improvements in people’s sight.

Moorfields Eye Hospital (MEH) and the Institute of Ophthalmology (IOO) of University College London (UCL) have been co-located at Old Street for two decades. This proximity of two world leading sets of practitioners, coupled with advances in digital and genetic technologies, has produced previously unimaginable advances in the treatment of eye conditions. At Oriel, they will not only be co-located but truly integrated, being free of the constraints of the current sub-standard and disaggregated facilities.

At the heart of the project is the belief that ‘People’s Sight Matters’ and Oriel puts people at the heart of the vision. The new building will be a place where people’s eye health is improved through the incubation and application of new knowledge and genuine engagement and participation of patients in the research.

Oriel will be at the centre of Moorfields’ delivery of services across the region. It is well connected, both for London and the rest of the UK, making it a more accessible national centre for eye care. As an innovation hub at the centre of a network of over 30 sites, its breakthroughs and improvements in clinical services will radiate out to the peripheral services across London, the southeast and beyond.

Rafael Marks, Principal, Penoyre & Prasad:

“Oriel is designed to be a welcoming place for all. The atrium at the heart of the building invites people in and forms a public living room for the city, comprising public facing activities such as art exhibitions, displays showcasing the work in the building, education facilities, café and other public facing activities. It is here that the main patient-support services are located.

This atrium brings daylight deep into the building and enables easy wayfinding and orientation. The oriel – a mini-tower – rises up through the middle of the atrium contains all the public vertical circulation accessing all departments. From here, bridges cross into the embracing wings containing the main clinical and research departments. Main clinic waiting spaces are ranged around the atrium, reinforcing this sense of connectedness. Wayfinding is clear and straightforward, providing a safe and supportive route from entrance to clinic.

The interior of the atrium and the building more widely is inspired by the Moorfields motto – fiat lux, let there be light. Natural materials, daylight and good artificial light, good acoustics and interior planting all contribute to the health and wellbeing of the building’s users. The design breaks down barriers between staff, patients and visitors to create a calm and compassionate environment.

Oriel also provides wider social and economic benefits. The creation of this world-leading eye-care centre in Camden will attract the most talented clinicians, researchers and educators from around the world while inspiring a new generation into the field. An active outreach programme will provide opportunities for local people through jobs creation, skills training and education programmes. The high-quality public realm will provide greater access around the site while the increase in activity will reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Knowledge Networks: London and the Ox-Cam Arc

Knowledge Networks: London and the Ox-Cam Arc

Oriel is a new home for the Moorfields Eye Hospital, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Charity.

 The project takes a radical approach to the integration of sight related care, research and education in order to drive innovation and speed up the translation of research findings into treatment. Enabling a seamless collaboration between clinicians, patients and researchers, the building will provide a flexible and adaptable armature to facilitate future evolution in clinical care and research practice and strengthen both Moorfields’ position as a world-leading eye hospital and reinforce the Institute’s capacity to deliver globally-networked cutting-edge research.

 In response to the aims and ambitions for the Oriel project, the design for Oriel has at its heart three key principles:

A magnetic place — to a new and welcoming civic place in the heart of St Pancras. The building responds to its context and site topography through creating two entrances — a lower one to the southwest drawing people oriented towards Bloomsbury and central London, the upper one to the northeast drawing people in from Kings Cross to the east. Both entrances lead to a generous and public atrium which forms the main front door into the building’s various departments. Through an active public engagement programme, Oriel will demonstrate to its patients, visitors and the wider community the innovative scientific research and medical trials that are carried out within the building. The ground plane of the building contains public-facing functions to create an active public realm.

 Maximising collaboration — the building is designed to maximise integration and collaboration across the different departments and disciplines within the building. A structure, dubbed ‘the oriel’, occupies the centre of the atrium and contains the main vertical and lateral circulation to all parts of the building. A stack of multi-functional platforms and semi-enclosed spaces, the oriel is a spatial embodiment of the concept of translational medicine and research. It is a space to encourage ‘collaboration between patients, clinicians and researchers’ and to ‘harness the collective power of staff, students and patients’.

An adaptive building — the building accommodates a wide range of different functions — clinical services (A&E, outpatients and diagnostics, surgery), fundamental research, translational research, education — within a series of generic floor plates. Through a carefully calibrated structural grid, a servicing strategy that separates shell-and-core from departmental plant, and interiors that are easy to change, the building will also respond to technological and service delivery changes, even total changes of use in the future.

The design also embraces circular economy strategies in a number of ways — designing out waste through the use of off-site construction and Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA), designing for adaptability and change, designing in layers and designing the interior for disassembly.

 ‘The design team stood out in their highly developed awareness of the importance of the evolving nature of medical science and technology, how this might inform the form and function of the new building and how this might affect the people who will use it.’
 Report of Competition Jury

Project information


Planning Granted




46700 sq m

Estimated completion

September 2025


4 St Pancras Way, London NW1 0PE, UK

Team Credits


Moorfields Eye Hospital, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields Eye Charity


Penoyre & Prasad

Project Lead


Interior Designer

White Arkitekter

Landscape Architect

White Arkitekter

Listed by

Penoyre & Prasad

Last updated on


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