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Not the Pinnacle of Design, Apparently

The new Francis Crick Institute building in London looks like "an upturned beetle," the Guardian writes.

"It looks better from 1,000 feet," Paul Nurse, the institute's director tells the Guardian. "You can't really see it properly from the ground."

The institute is the result of partnerships between UK funding agencies and universities to bring researchers from disparate disciplines together. Nurse envisions it as a place where researchers can pursue risky and long-term projects, and he's said that researchers with different interests will be given offices near one another to lead to "gentle anarchy." 

The Guardian adds that the building's architects appeared to try to fit it in with nearby structures and St. Pancras station, but "misses the mark on both counts, lacking either the confidence or elegance of its forebears." The Guardian says that this "dog's dinner" of a design was likely unavoidable because of the number of different groups that had their fingers in the design.

Still, the paper says the design of the inside of the building is soaring and open — underscoring its nickname of Sir Paul's Cathedral — and allows sightlines between different labs to encourage collaboration. It also includes breakout spaces and open staircases.

"The building will no doubt serve the Crick's founding purposes just fine, but it could have been so much more," the Guardian laments.

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