Rockefeller Building

The refurbished Rockefeller building brings cutting-edge teaching facilities under one roof with clinical treatment spaces, as the new home for the UCL Eastman Dental Institute (EDI).

A photo of the exterior of the Rockefeller Building

15 May 2024


The listed building, designed by Paul Waterhouse and originally opened in 1907, was the original home of the university’s Medical School and Nurses Home. The Eastman Dental Institute had simultaneously outgrown its original home at 256 Grays Inn Road. The Rockefeller was given a considerable technical and interior upgrade to bring it up to the standards required of contemporary dental education. The Rockefeller building has a smaller footprint than the former site at 256 Grays Inn Road but supports more teaching spaces, meaning more places can be offered to students for the well-subscribed school. The EDI is now home to around 350 postgraduates and 60 PhD dental students, alongside more than 120 academic, technical, and professional services staff. UCL also offers short courses to clinical professionals for in-career learning at the EDI. 

Refurbished in line with feedback from students and what they require from their UCL experience, the Rockefeller is now a new home for the faculty, where students have a single base for their time as undergraduates as well as a site of further learning at postgraduate level and beyond.    


After refurbishment, the EDI has become the largest occupier of the building, which it shares with the Medical School, Grant Museum of Zoology, Cancer Institute Pathology, and the Institute for Women’s Health.

The project required significant re-configuration and refurbishment of a large part of the building. Technical modifications were made across five floors with major service upgrades and a new roof plant freed up space in the rear courtyard. These changes supported multiple air changes every hour in clinical areas to support a rigorous level of hygiene. This is a leading standard for the industry and is an additional line of protection against transmission of airborne particles including the Covid-19 virus.

The refreshed facility fulfils the specifications of a cutting-edge dental school, as is expected by the teaching staff and students at UCL. These facilities enable learning with industry-standard equipment, like the 90 “phantom head" workstations for students to refine their skills learning from specialist educators. Each room has a comprehensive capture system including cameras mounted to the dental chair and elsewhere within the room to facilitate the broadcast of activities such as web seminars and live stream. Data captured on camera can be fed into a state-of-the-art 3D workflow suite, which also utilises 3D scanning and computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software to digitally plan the dental restoration of patients. The suite is complemented by computer-aided milling and 3D printing devices, able to create dentures, bridges crowns and implants.  The result is an enhanced student experience, and a facility that can continue to adapt for years to come as the field of dental care develops.


The redesign of the site enables step-free access via lift to every floor and most of the building, including the 8 clinical practice rooms. The remodeling of the interior includes toilets located near the ground-floor entrance which support wheelchair users, users who need assistance, and facilities for baby changing. 

The building has improved insulation and energy efficiency, whilst increasing electrical supply and preserving the original historic features and structure. The Rockefeller Building is in good shape as it approaches 130 years of service.  

people learning in the clinical laboratory

What's happened to the Eastman Dental Institute's original home?

UCL is building a centre for Neurology and Dementia research at 256 Grays Inn Road, behind the facade of the original Royal London Hospital, which was formerly the home of the Eastman Dental Institute. 

Find out more about 256 Grays Inn Road

Architects and contractors

Lead Architect: Burwell Architects 

Structural & Civil Engineer: Aecom

Services, Fire & Acoustics Engineer: Hoare Lee

Quantity Surveyor: Mace

Project Manager: Arcadis 

Last Updated

15 May 2024