INFRASTRUCTURE

Northwestern becomes the proud home of America’s biggest biomedical research centre

SOURCE: Perkins&Will Architects
Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine opened the largest biomedical research centre in the United States last month.

Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine opened the largest biomedical research centre in the United States last month, covering an impressive 627,000 sq ft and housing dynamic laboratories that change depending on the researchers.

Designed by Perkins+Will architects, the contemporary design facilitates scientific research by easing the process. Laboratories are created with their specific purpose in mind, whether that’s researching diabetes, or neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular disease or cancer. The design is tailored to the subject matter, recognising the unique challenges and requirements of each.

According to Building Design & Construction, the 12-storey facility is built around “research neighborhoods,” which encourage collaboration and discovery.

Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center. Source: Perkins&Wills Architects

“The Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Centre is an inspired new home for discovery on Northwestern University’s Chicago medical campus,” said Dr. Eric G. Neilson, Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“Inside this modern new building, scientists will pioneer discoveries that will impact the practice of medicine and transform human health. Here, we will accelerate the pace of lifesaving medical science that fuels the local and national economy, near world-class campus partners and in a global city with unrivaled opportunities for biomedical commercialisation and entrepreneurship.”

Inside the Rendering of Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center, at Northwestern University. Source: Perkins&Wills Architects

According to Northwestern, the facility will create 2,000 full-time jobs, in addition to the more than 2,500 construction jobs created by the first phase of building.

It’s expected to generate an additional US$390 million a year in economic activity in Chicago and enable Northwestern to increase its current amount of US$700 million in total sponsored research funding by US$150 million annually.

Rendering of Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center, Chicago, Illinois. Source: Perkins&Wills Architects

While the facility is only 12-storeys high, it is designed for further expansion, being able to accommodate 16-storeys once fully developed. Each floor houses 23 laboratories, each of which can be reconfigured to fit research needs.

To avoid the common trap of no natural light that so many large buildings fall victim to, the labs are ringed by glass walls to allow sunlight into every corner. Two-storey collaboration spaces connect the different groupings of labs to encourage movement and collaboration between sections.

“The building was designed with elegance and transparency in mind, welcoming the public at street level and prioritizing varied space types, natural light, and extensive collaboration areas,” said Ralph Johnson, Design Director at Perkins+Will.