Contract - January/February 2015 - 76

interiors awards

education

UCSD Biomedical Research Facility Unit 2

Client
University of
California, San Diego

Location
La jolla, California

ZGF Architects

W
Beautifully
daylit, the
interiors and
material palette are
well integrated with
the architecture
overall. Biomedical
projects are very
complex-the
building shows
architectural
restraint with
a welcome
timelessness.
jUry

By John Czarnecki
Photography by
Nick Merrick/
Hedrich Blessing
and Eckert & Eckert
76

ith considerable growth in biomedical research
activities, researchers at the University of
California, San Diego (UCSD) had been spread
among a few outdated, inadequate structures on campus.
The school needed a new research center to
accommodate the increasing demand for laboratories
under one roof, and to attract the top researchers from
around the world. The UCSD Health Sciences Biomedical
Research Facility 2, programmed and designed by ZGF,
positions the university as a leading research institution.
A striking addition to UCSD, it anchors and defines a
campus green, houses state-of-the-art laboratories, and
is one of the rare laboratory buildings in the U.S. that is
expected to achieve LEED Platinum. That's no small feat.
Located amidst existing buildings all related to
health sciences, the building's primary entrance faces
west on a north-south axis toward a newly defined
academic lawn and across from a pharmaceutical
sciences building that it is connected to underground.
The biomedical research facility is home to researchers
in bioinformatics, gastrointestinal medicine, childhood
diseases, pathology, immunology, infectious diseases,
psychiatry, and cardiology, among other areas of
medical research. Programmed spaces include wet
bench laboratories, computational space, laboratory
support, offices, and conference rooms.
"The building was initially conceived from the
inside out," says Joe Collins, FAIA, a partner at ZGF.
The 196,000-square-foot building is composed of
three distinct components: a five-story laboratory
block, a seven-story office wing, and an open central
core that is the hub for vertical circulation. Adjacent
to the entrance, a floor-to-ceiling window wall allows
light to fill the central core. With a monumental stair
next to a glass-enclosed elevator, the core is
surrounded on every level by open walkways and sitting
areas adjacent to conference rooms. A vital component
of the building, this unifying central space is the focal
point of activity, gives researchers of various fields
places to meet or casually interact, and architecturally
allows daylight to reach many spaces.

"The most important programming aspect was
the quality of the interior space in which there had to
be a democratic attitude about natural light for all
occupants, physical transparency, and thoughtfully
designed spaces for personal and professional
interaction at multiple scales," Collins says. A variety
of gathering areas include benches at circulation
nodes, as well as perimeter lounges with flat screens
and whiteboards.
Taking advantage of the southern California
climate, a strong connection is made physically and
visually between indoors and outdoors. A large outdoor
terrace on the second floor also provides shade over the
main entrance, and another outdoor terrace is accessed
from the fourth floor. The warm, tactile interiors have
primarily three types of wood: chestnut flooring in the
building's core, rift-sawn white oak used for wall panels
and lab cabinets, and ipe on handrails and exterior
decking. Sliding wood louver sunscreens on balconies
help to filter the California sun.
A highly integrated system of solar shading,
with computer-controlled retractable exterior blinds,
is a key element of the building. Adjacent to the
laboratories, dynamic exterior shading reduces cooling
load and energy use by keeping lab space at the optimal
ventilation rate for safety. The labs are designed to be
highly efficient and well integrated with mechanical
systems. "Labs had to be secure, flexible, and easily
reconfigurable," Collins says. "And central lab support
spaces had to be easily accessible by multiple
research groups."
UCSD researchers have expressed their
admiration to ZGF and Collins, and that means the world
to the architect. "One of the biggest thrills for me as an
architect is to have the researchers gush about how
much they and their teams love working in the building;
how much they look forward to coming to work," Collins
says. "And, of course, it's exciting to imagine that the
next great medical discovery or Nobel Prize might
spring from the research conducted there." c

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Contract - January/February 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - January/February 2015

Contents
Editorial
Industry News
Columnist: Moving Practice Beyond Analog
Product Focus: A Family Affair
Product Briefs: Flooring, Seating, Textiles, and Wallcoverings
Designer of the Year
Legend Award
Annual Interiors Awards
Adaptive Reuse
Education
Entertainment
Healthcare
Historic Restoration
Hotel
Office: Large
Office: Small
Public/Civic
Restaurant
Retail
Sports
Student
Designers Select: Lighting
Sources
Ad Index
Installation: A Journey Through Austria Depicted on Screens
Contract - January/February 2015 - Intro
Contract - January/February 2015 - Cover1
Contract - January/February 2015 - Cover2
Contract - January/February 2015 - 1
Contract - January/February 2015 - 2
Contract - January/February 2015 - 3
Contract - January/February 2015 - Contents
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Editorial
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Contract - January/February 2015 - 21
Contract - January/February 2015 - Industry News
Contract - January/February 2015 - 23
Contract - January/February 2015 - 24
Contract - January/February 2015 - 25
Contract - January/February 2015 - 26
Contract - January/February 2015 - 27
Contract - January/February 2015 - Columnist: Moving Practice Beyond Analog
Contract - January/February 2015 - 29
Contract - January/February 2015 - 30
Contract - January/February 2015 - 31
Contract - January/February 2015 - Product Focus: A Family Affair
Contract - January/February 2015 - 33
Contract - January/February 2015 - Product Briefs: Flooring, Seating, Textiles, and Wallcoverings
Contract - January/February 2015 - 35
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Designer of the Year
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Education
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Public/Civic
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Sports
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Sources
Contract - January/February 2015 - 129
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Contract - January/February 2015 - Ad Index
Contract - January/February 2015 - Installation: A Journey Through Austria Depicted on Screens
Contract - January/February 2015 - Cover3
Contract - January/February 2015 - Cover4
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