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Rafael Viñoly Architects The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building

Home » architecture » Rafael Viñoly Architects The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building

Rafael Viñoly Architects The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building

| architecture, architecture critic | April 15, 2011

UCSF, San Francisco, California

A beautifully sinuous, serpentine building that makes use of every foot of available space.

The Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building is designed to foster intensive collaboration and a cross-pollination of ideas among scientists representing a broad spectrum of labs and disciplines. Located on a steeply sloping urban hillside, the building presented the design team a unique challenge: executing a horizontal structure on an uneven site.

The main floor functions as one continuous laboratory divided into four split levels, each stepping down a half-story as the building descends the forested hillside slope, and each level is topped by an office cluster and a grass roof with wildflowers and plants. Exterior ramps and stairs, taking advantage of the temperate climate, provide continuous circulation between all levels, and the facility connects to three nearby research buildings and UCSF Medical Center via a pedestrian bridge.

To further promote collaboration, the laboratories occupy a horizontal open-floor plan, with a flexible, custom-designed casework system that enables the rapid reconfiguration of the research program. Abundant south-facing glazing fills the open laboratories and offices with natural light and views of the wooded slope of Mount Sutro nearby.

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About the author

After working at various design practices on a full-time and freelance basis, and starting his own design firm, David McFadden saw that there was a gap to be filled in the industry. In 1984, he created an expansive hub for architects and hiring firms to sync up, complete projects, and mutually benefit. That hub was Consulting For Architects Inc., which enabled architects to find meaningful design work, while freeing hiring firms from tedious hiring-firing cycles. This departure from the traditional, more rigid style of employer-employee relations was just what the industry needed - flexibility and adaption to modern work circumstances. David has successfully advised his clients through the trials and tribulations of four recessions – the early 80’s, the early 90’s, the early 2000’s, and the Great Recession of 2007.

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