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Vinoly completes UCSF research facility

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Vinoly completes UCSF research facility

| architect, architecture, architecture critic | February 10, 2011

Transitional spaces at stem cell building encourage ‘cross-pollination of ideas’

The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building at the University of California (UCSF) hosted a grand opening yesterday to celebrate the completion of a challenging construction project.

Designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects with executive architect the Smith Group and DPR Construction, the new facility will act as the headquarters for the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, analysing complex scientific data at the earliest stages of human and animal development.

Located on a steeply sloping hillside, the site posed multiple challenges for the design team. A solution was found in the creation of a raised serpentine structure supported by steel space trusses springing from concrete piers, minimising space excavation and incorporating seismic base isolation to absorb earthquake forces.

The main laboratory area is arranged in four split levels set in stepped stages working in harmony with the sloped nature of the urban hillside. Each of these levels is topped with a cluster of offices and a green roof-space planted with wildflowers.

An external network of stairs and pedestrian bridges takes advantage of San Francisco’s temperate climate, with internal stairs and break rooms providing a base for the ‘cross-pollination of ideas’ among scientists. Interior glazing maximises visual connectivity while plentiful glazing on the south-facing side affords widespread views to the wooded slope of nearby Mount Sutro.

Rafael Vinoly Architects is currently pushing forward on two long-awaited projects in London, UK – work has now recommenced on 20 Fenchurch Street (the Walkie Talkie) and the £5.5bn redevelopment of Battersea Power Station has been approved by Wandsworth Council.

Hat Tip to World Architecture News

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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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