Leeds Pathology

- Healthcare

Pathology Facility: A cutting-edge pathology laboratory that supports researchers and staff

Leeds Teaching Hospital




Chris Thornton

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Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust provides one of the largest pathology services in the country, processing around 33 million tests every year. However, with its services spread across two different sites, the Trust saw an opportunity to consolidate its provision with an entirely new building – allowing practitioners to share equipment, spaces and expertise more easily, and ultimately leading to better care.

The demands of any pathology facility are highly complex and technical, and we knew that it would be essential to consult with the people who would be using the building to understand their needs. It was also important to look to the future: more pathology services are needed every year, and the facility would need to accommodate future growth in demand, while incorporating state-of-the-art technology.

Approach + Solution

At the heart of our design process was an intense series of stakeholder engagements. We met frequently with everyone from the Trust’s estates team to infection control, gathering ideas and assessing needs and concerns. These conversations – coupled with a feedback and review process where we discussed our emerging ideas in detail – led us to base our designs around three core principles:

  • Commodity. The building needed to be designed around its central function as a pathology facility, with every element contributing to its success.
  • Firmness. The building needed to be strong and long-lasting, to cope with future change and demand.
  • Delight. The building needed to support the wellbeing of researchers, visitors and staff, embodying a truly wonderful place to work.

The building centres on a large, open-plan laboratory on the ground floor, including a central specimen reception, automated tracks, and staffed lab benching. This will allow for easily adding new equipment in the future, or to change ways of working should needs change. Feature artworks and full-height windows upend the traditionally “clinical” feel of a pathology lab: the result is an environment that works both for the Trust and for their community, hugely enhancing their capacity for world-class services.