Three years after Northwestern University broke ground on the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center, the exterior of the building and bridge is nearly completed and progress on the interior construction is underway.
From the start, the architectural and interior design for the building has revolved around supporting the scientific work that will be conducted in the building once it is completed. From the extensive foundation system to the connection to the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center and the floor layout and interior design, every detail has taken the needs of scientists into account.
“The building itself was designed from the inside out. By that I mean the interior lab construction is a framework for the science. We’re trying to create a very efficient, functional space to support the research happening at Northwestern,” explained Bridget Lesniak, managing principal at Perkins + Will. She leads the architectural and engineering design team and has been involved with the project since the design competition. (See a timeline of the building progress here.)
The building was designed with flexibility, transparency and collaboration in mind. Each floor will have three lab “neighborhoods” featuring glass wall partitions, with open work spaces along the perimeter of the building and high ceilings to allow for maximum natural light and views. Conference spaces and common areas will encourage impromptu meetings between groups.
“The idea of collaborative teams came into play when thinking about the design of the labs. The labs were created to be very flexible to accommodate different research groups, so they can grow and morph over time,” Lesniak said.
The building is also connected to the Lurie Cancer Center on a floor-by-floor basis to further connect the scientific community. The ground floor lobby will create a seamless connection between the two buildings, creating one open space along Superior Street that can be used for breakout sessions, lectures and campus events.
In coming months, the team will finish the interior construction on the lab floors, and work on the ground floor lobby and conference center spaces will begin.
“For me, it has been particularly rewarding getting to know and work with Northwestern leadership on this project,” Lesniak said. “Also, understanding how much biomedical research has changed healthcare in my lifetime and how important it is moving into the future has made this a very meaningful project personally.”