Health Sciences Biomedical Research facility Opens at UC San Diego

SAN DIEGO — The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is celebrating the completion of the new $113 million Health Sciences Biomedical Research Facility. Designed by the Portland, Ore., office of ZGF Architects and constructed by McCarthy Building Companies Inc, which holds local offices, the 196,000-square-foot building is aiming to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

The interdisciplinary facility was designed to foster collaboration between the various departments: bioinformatics, genomic medicine, gastrointestinal medicine, childhood diseases, pathology, immunology, inflammation, psychiatry, cardiology, neurosciences, infectious diseases and glycobiology.

“We’re very proud to unveil this beautiful new facility,” said Mark Rowland, principal architect and project manager for UCSD, in a statement. “Researchers from many departments and programs will unite and collaborate here to produce new therapies that will save lives.”

The seven-story research facility features five floors of wet bench laboratories, open lab space, lab support space, seven stories of administrative office space, interaction spaces and conference rooms. The strong focus on interdisciplinary collaboration is showcased in the open lobby, which serves as an interaction space. The dynamic design of the lobby includes an iconic cast-in-place concrete staircase that climbs seven stories up and one story down.

“We’ve partnered with McCarthy on a number of UC system projects in the past and are very pleased to be celebrating yet another successful collaboration with them,” said Joe Collins, FAIA, a partner with ZGF and principal architect. “We’re on track to receiving LEED Platinum certification, which would make this one of the most innovative and sustainably designed research labs in the University of California system and quite possibly the entire nation.”

A computer-controlled exterior solar shading system on the east, west and south facades reduces visual glare, cooling load and energy use, while the radius ceiling shape helps redirect sunlight to provide optimum daylighting, according to project leaders. Other sustainable features include daylighting, radiant heating systems, operable windows, individual thermostats, displacement ventilation, LED lighting, a water reclamation system, low VOC materials and high-efficiency mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

“The highly MEP-intensive floor was the most technically challenging aspect of this construction project,” said Bob Betz, senior vice president of McCarthy. “BIM was utilized extensively to help in the coordination of these spaces, along with BlueBeam for the electrical plan room. We brought our subcontractors aboard during the initial design phases to help us fashion a seamless, integrated building process.”